Riverside Park is the armature onto which Stephanie Azzarone has constructed a scrumptious encomium to much more than merely that elongated swathe of greenery. She has used the history of the park and its adjacent eponymous avenue to tell a much broader story of how New York and the living styles of New Yorkers have developed and changed over the decades. She relates tales both enlivening and horrifying of some of the more interesting people who have participated in the development of the Riverside Drive neighborhood and she provides a well-narrated walking tour up the Avenue. Architecture, planning, art, politics, arrogance, and present-day concerns all are part of the book’s vivid prose. With wit and delightful detail Azzarone simultaneously documents and charms.
—Andrew Alpern, author of Posh Portals: Elegant Entrances and Ingratiating Ingresses to Apartments for the Affluent in New York
Heaven on the Hudson is a fascinating account of the rise, fall, and rise again of Riverside Drive. Azzarone’s deep research and skillful storytelling makes this a brisk, lively read for New York natives and out-of-towners alike.
—Esther Crain, author of The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910
Heaven on the Hudson gives Riverside Drive, one of the world’s great thoroughfares, its due. All the beauty, all the architecture, all the notables, and all the history are offered in one book. For the local and non-local reader alike, this book is a page-turner. It surprises (even this historian) with enjoyable and fascinating details that reveal Riverside’s not-so-well known treasures. Best is that one can walk Riverside Drive with Heaven on the Hudson in hand to explore and enjoy. My high expectations for a long overdue and good book about Riverside Drive has been vastly exceeded.
—Jim Mackin, author of Notable New Yorkers of Manhattan’s Upper West Side: Bloomingdale-Morningside Heights
Stephanie Azzarone marries sparkling prose to impressive research in painting the portrait of a very special place in New York City, Riverside Park and its undulating border of apartment houses and mansions. Along with a comprehensive history of the park, she brings to life not only the area’s bricks and stones, but also its ghosts—now-vanished buildings and the storied denizens of generations past—all while reminding us of the city’s larger social and historical context.
—Daniel J. Wakin, author of The Man with the Sawed-Off Leg and Other Tales of a New York City Block
Stephanie Azzarone’s Heaven on the Hudson is both a history and a love letter to the green coast of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In lively prose, the author recounts the improbable circumstances of Riverside Park’s creation, spanning the decades from the close of the Civil War through the Great Depression. She also introduces us to a generous sampling of the geniuses, crusaders and eccentrics who built and lived along its magnificent bordering street, Riverside Drive.