The Street That Built a City: McEntee’s Chestnut Street, Kingston, and The Rise of New YorkBy Lowell Thing, paintings by Jervis McEntee (Black Dome Press, 2015) Buy It Now
A longtime resident of Kingston’s Chestnut Street Historic District, Lowell Thing examines the rise of not one but two cities by looking at the ground beneath his feet, recalling the Native American concept of “vertical history.” What layers underlie the present? The 19th-century mansions that still grace a hilltop street in New York State’s former capital were built by wealthy men whose businesses helped to erect New York City: D&H Canal engineer James McEntee, the Coykendall steamboat dynasty, and no fewer than seven brickyard owners. The story of Chestnut Street also includes several Hudson River School artists, architect Calvert Vaux, esteemed actor Edwin Booth (brother of Lincoln’s assassin), and a groundbreaking female physician. Home by home, neighbor by neighbor, amenity by amenity—think gas lamps and hitching posts—Thing re-creates his neighborhood’s storied past.