The Cruel Theater of Carceral Capitalism—A Review of Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City Hostage.

Shanahan, Jarrod. Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City Hostage. New York: Verso, 2022. Reviewed by David Helps Thirty years ago this September, some six thousand off-duty members of New York’s Finest descended on City Hall, ostensibly to oppose Mayor David Dinkins’s plan for a police civilian review board. The nearly all-white mob drank […]

Read More

📖A City within a City—A Review of “Freedomland: Co-op City and the Story of New York”

Sammartino, Annemarie H. Freedomland: Co-op City and the Story of New York. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2022. Reviewed by Katie Uva East of I-95 and west of the Hutchinson River Parkway, on 320 acres of marshy land that was once, briefly, home to a United States-themed (and United States-shaped) amusement park called Freedomland, stands […]

Read More

The Tyranny of the Map: Rethinking Redlining 

By Robert Gioielli Teaching the history of racism in America can be a difficult thing. Not because students deny it, but because it is something that is so ubiquitous, so all encompassing, that many (particularly white) students let the idea roll over and past them. They know racism existed in the past and people did […]

Read More

Announcing the Winner of the Sixth Annual UHA/The Metropole Grad Student Blogging Contest

Believing that blogging is an excellent way to teach beyond the classroom, market scholarship, and promote the enduring value of the humanities, The Metropole established the Graduate Student Blogging Contest in 2017. This year, the theme of the contest was “The Senses,” which asked contributors to tell a story about any time, topic, person, or place […]

Read More

The Second Story: Looking Up to Henry Binford

By Amanda I. Seligman Henry Binford’s most legendary urban tours are ones that he led on Chicago’s elevated trains, but he knows his way around the city by car too. Once while driving with a small group during my time in graduate school, Henry found his planned route blocked. Undeterred, he drove over a block […]

Read More

Living in White Spaces: Suburbia’s Hidden Histories

By David S. Rotenstein In 2009 I learned about one African American woman who briefly lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, a Washington, DC, suburb. She worked for a white physician’s family. Lucille Walker’s story as a Black domestic worker survives in bits and pieces in the memory of the physician’s daughter, Ann Scandiffio. In 1939 […]

Read More

Disciplining the Nation: Documenting Imprisonment and Punishment in the Gilded Age

By Timothy J. Gilfoyle The fear of increasing crime in nineteenth-century American cities generated an unprecedented expansion of penitentiary and carceral systems throughout the United States. The autobiography of George Appo (1856-1930) presents a rare window into this subaltern world of incarcerated men. Appo was arrested more than a dozen times and spent more than a decade […]

Read More

“They Cleaned Me Out Entirely”: An Enslaved Woman’s Experience with General Sherman’s Army

This piece is the sole entrant into the Sixth Annual UHA/The Metropole Graduate Student Blogging Contest. We invited graduate students to “tell a story about any time, topic, person, or place in urban history that foregrounds sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch,” and this essay depicts the sensory experiences of a woman exercising her agency […]

Read More