New York Sawed in Half : An Urban HistoricalBook - 2001
Chronicles the story of the scheme carried out by John De Voe and a man named Lozier in 1824 to "save" to city of New York from sinking into the harbor, recreating the atmosphere of the time and speculating about the reasons for this hoax.
In 1824, the inhabitants of New York City were just returning from the wilds of Greenwich Village after having fled a yellow fever epidemic that threatened to devastate the population of 150,000. The recent economic depression forced many of the city's laborers out of work. It was a time of extreme gullibility, a time when newspapers began to realize that sensation sold, truth or lies, giving way to a rash of hoaxes.
So when two men of supposed high reputation began a rumor that Manhattan was sinking into the harbor because of overdevelopment on its southern tip, everyone listened closely. The men had been sent, they claimed, to save Manhattan from inevitable doom. Their idea: to saw New York in half, drag it out to sea, turn it around and reattach it to the mainland at Kingsbridge. Far fetched? Not at the time when a river was being forged through the mountains to create the Erie Canal. The wonders of engineering made anything possible. And so begins the story of the greatest hoax ever played on the people of New York City.
Blackwell North Amer
When Uncle John DeVoe and a man only known as Lozier sit down in the old Centre Market to discuss the impending doom threatening New York City, those around can't help but eavesdrop. Overdevelopment of its southern tip has put the island in jeopardy and unless something can be done to stop it, the city will sink into the harbor. DeVoe and Lozier claim to have been sent to avert disaster and tell the eager listeners of their plan to save their great city. Who were Uncle John DeVoe and the mysterious Lozier? What may have instigated their grand deception and why was it blindly embraced?
Trailing historical documents that lead him in a direction he never could have anticipated, novelist Rose weaves together a tale of skullduggery against an atmospheric recreation of urban street life in the early nineteenth century. With an eye toward the political and cultural climate of the period, New York Sawed in Half is a playful meditation on the nature of the hoax.