I hold a Ph.D. in urban geography (University of Michigan, 1972) where my dissertation was titled Magic, Mobility and Minorities in the Urban Drama. I’m a lifelong observer of NYC and other large cities around the world. My expertise lies particularly in quantitative methods, historical urban geography, migration, ethnicity, and technological change. I maintain a storehouse of urban concepts, researched facts, and biased memories of bygone eras.
Much of what I know about digital NYC comes from a career in the Property Division of the NYC Department of Finance collecting data and modeling valuation of tax parcels. Most of whom I know in NYC comes from founding and coordinating GISMO, NYC’s GIS user group, participating in non-profit institutions like the Municipal Art Society, and teaching at Hunter College (CUNY). I continually update my familiarity with NYC by walking, walking, and walking in all five boroughs.
In June, 2010, I was appointed Queens Borough Historian. My agenda includes advising the Borough President, convening people and organizations concerned with Queens history, education at all levels, promoting Queens’ history-related attractions and changing cultures. Special long-term projects- in conjunction with others- include founding a Museum of Contemporary Immigration, establishing a Flushing Remonstrance National Park, popularizing aspects of Dutch history in public school curricula and promoting common interests of Brooklyn and Queens.