2.18.2006

"Weird New York"

In my little world York State's libraries are amongst our greatest treasures, ranked with our fantastic park system and our traditions of innovation and exploration. The other day, I visited my local library, the Johnson City Your Home Public Library, to pick up something special that I had requested. I arrived and, for a 25 cent fee (for the hold), I acquired Weird New York by Chris Gethard.

Part of the "Weird U.S." series, Weird New York is a tour of the bizarre, terrifying and wonderful underbelly of the Empire State. The book, largely a repository for folklore and urban legends is divided up into thematic chapters including: "Local Heroes and Villains," "Roadside Oddities" and "Cemetery Safari." Inside each chapter are sections detailing the oddities that range from a single line to several pages. Some of my favorites include:
"Whiskey Hollow" an isolated road in Baldwinsville where the KKK and Satan worshippers commit acts of absolute evil and teenagers find the remnants of animal sacrifices. Of course, the ghosts of murdered children also haunt the area.


"The Crypt Keeper Knocks Back!" About a mausoleum in an unnamed cemetery on Route 8 between Unadilla and Bridgewater. When you knock on the door, the restless spirits within... knock back!

"The Clawfoot People" of the Zoar Valley near Gowanda. All descended from a single woman, the 200 or so men of this clan all exhibited a deformity called "clawfoot." In the 1920s, the family all secretly made a pact to not reproduce, forever eliminating their shame.

and...

"Rosemary's Texas Taco" on Route 22 in Putnam County, a bizarrely decorated Tex-Mex restaurant filled with robots, found objects and sculptures. Behind Rosemary's is a "fantasyland" garden filled with animals, junk and more scuptures.

I highly reccommend Weird New York to any with a taste for the bizarre, fascinating or terrifying. But if you live in the Triple Cities, I warn you that I've got the only copy in the library system, and I am keeping it until its due date.

-Posted by Jesse

2 comments:

Critical Cretan said...

How is it a secret pact not to reproduce if it's in a popular book to be printed on a web log?

Just curious, did you happen to read about this book in the Press and Sun bulletin, I love their informative new reporting!

Also, I heard on the grapevine that that 25 cents wasn't your only charge that day at the library -it seems you had another more nefarious charge accrued.

Jesse said...

Well, Joe "Critical Cretan" Sullivan (by the way, pretty much every time someone uses an absurd name on this blog, it's Joe), since you were with me when I picked up the book you know that, yes I did read about in the Press and Sun and yes I an overdue fine of a little over a dollar. They were all only a day late, but I'm afraid there were around 6 of them.

The secret comment is a good question though, there's probably a deeper story here that deserves investigation.