Tuesday, May 22, 2012

House Tour

"All architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it;
Did you think it was in the white or gray stone? or the lines of the arches and cornices?"

                                                                            from Come Closer to Me,  Leaves of Grass, 1855 edition

Tucked away on Ryerson, between Myrtle & the BQE.  The tallest house in the picture above is number 99.  In 1855, Walt Whitman lived here, at the time when the first edition of Leaves of Grass was published.  He was only here for a few months, living with his mother & other family members.  His father died here. Walt had a room on the second floor, at the back.  The top floor is an add-on, not there in Walt's day.  Number 99 is the only remaining Brooklyn house that Whitman lived in.  It has no commemorative plaque.  This area of Brooklyn has the largest collection of pre-Civil War frame houses in the city.

"Whitman Really Slept Here" - Rachel Aviv, Poetry Foundation, 2007
the Walt Whitman Project , which offers informative & entertaining free tours of Whitman's Fort Greene, led by Greg Trupiano.  Thanks especially for the information about 99 Ryerson.
"Walt Whitman's Ghost: revisiting the streets that spawned an American masterpiece"  - Paul Berman, The New Yorker, June 12, 1995

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