In January 2002, journalist Katharine Greider got a phone call as she was settling down with her sleeping children in her Manhattan co-op; the architect she'd hired to suggest fixes for the former tenement house had analyzed photos of the foundation, and told her exactly what she should do: get the hell out. Her family's abrupt exile began a personal travail, harrowing and comical in roughly equal parts, through the strange and exasperating world of New York City real estate. But it also led Greider into the past of 239 E. 7th Street, back through the many people that had called this fragile house by the East River home since the 1850s, and further back to when the marshy land beneath it was traded between the English, the Dutch, and the Lenape.
"Greider tells the story of her tragic-comic love affair with a beautiful but ill-starred house on Manhattan's Lower East Side, interweaving deft personal memoir with a scholarly history of the house and an illuminating commentary on the nature and meaning of home over the course of human history."óMark Caldwell