Monday, April 06, 2009

Lush Life and Google Street View

Richard Price's Lush Life is a fantastic novel for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is its incredible sense of place. The whole book pretty much takes place within a few blocks of New York's Lower East Side.

Now, I've never been to the Lower East Side and the book gave a complete feel of the place, but I was still a little curious to see the area, so I looked up one of the addresses given in the book, 27 Eldridge, on Google Maps and then hit the street view.

Google Street View has been controversial and I really don't know what to make of it, but it was very cool to spend a few minutes, "walking around," in Lush Life. It looks exactly the way the novel feels:


View Larger Map

So, what do you think? Is this something you're likely to try? Do you ever have a desire to see even more of a place you read about?

39 comments:

Dana King said...

I've never used Street View. From what I know of it, I'm more disturbed by the technology's potential than by whether it sees my cat on the window ledge. Every day our private spaces are chipped away at a little more. While I agree this only captures what's seen by anyone walking by, where the technology could be n ten years is disturbing, especially since the power of individuals and corporations to misuse such information is limited far less than governmental use, at least here in the States.

On the other hand, I use Google Earth all the time when writing. My current WIP is set in a fictionalized version of the town I grew up in. I haven't lived there for years, and my knowledge of its current configuration from visits to my parents is limited. I dial it up and can get some worthwhile details of places I can't just go to anytime I want to. Same with my detective stories set in Chicago. I haven't lived there for a while; Google Earth is a good way to refresh my memory, or to alert me to changes.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I've looked at places I've lived on it but never this. The lower east side is different from so much of Manhattan-locked in a time warp. If you ever go, go to the Tenement Museum to see what people lived like a century or more ago. It was unreal.

John McFetridge said...

Thanks Patti, I will. Price mentions the Tenement Museum in the book, too, I'd never heard of such a thing.

Yeah Dana, the sci fi I read as a kid has always made me a little fearful of the misuse of technology. I see things a little too Philip K. Dick, I guess...

Mike Knowles said...

'Bout time you got back up and blogging. Good to see you're still alive, John.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I haven't thought about this much, but I think the answer is no. A book with a vivid (and I've just read one of those: Death in a the Truffle Wood by Pierre Magnan) is so rich and fulfilling an experience that I don't feel an immediate need to visit the place in question.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

John McFetridge said...

That's funny, Mike. I felt only half-alive for a couple weeks, there, I had mono. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad, an old guy with a teenager's disease. Next it'll be acne and premature ejaculation....

Mike Knowles said...

You mean that other stuff is supposed to go away?

Good to hear you're doing better. I hear the kissing disease is a rough one.

Peter Rozovsky said...

... and braces on your teeth.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Suman said...

I just read "Lush Life" over the past week, finishing it this morning. I love books, like this one, that have a very specific sense of geography--that mention street names, landmarks, etc.

Unfort I wasn't making notes of all the location references, so I was curious if anyone had made "mapped" the book. Your post is the first hit for "lush life lower east side map"!

One odd thing, however--google mapping 27 Eldridge puts it south of Canal. That would be close to where the (fictional?) Lemlich Houses are located. But my reading of the events of the book put the shooting between Eldridge and Delancey.

From reskimming the 1st 50 pages: Berkmann's is at Rivington & Norfolk; 3 blocks west of there is the Sana'a 24/7, at the corner of Rivington & Eldridge--which is next to where the shooting takes place, I believe. Also the shooters are seen fleeing east on Delancey, so makes sense the shooting is btwn Rivington & Delancey.

I just find it odd that Price is so hyperspecific with geography in this book, but seems to have written that detail different from reality...

I live in Brooklyn, and have walked the LES a fair amount..but I plan to rewalk it soon, to visit the "Lush Life" locales!

Just came back across this NYT profile of Price from when the book came out last year, set in the LES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/books/02mcgr.html

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