Descendent of Lowell Palmer on the Book

One of the things I most enjoy about writing history is that people are alive who are the actual descendants of characters in my book. One of the people who worked with the Havemeyers was Lowell Palmer, a logistical genius who set up Palmer’s dock where the massive amounts of sugar were placed into barrels and sent on barges to railheads in New York harbor where railroads shipped them around the country. Palmer became a millionaire before fighting with Harry Havemeyer and eventually leaving to form the famous Squibb corporation.

 

His descendent Lenore Palmer wrote to me about the book: 

Read your history on the “Sugar King”. It was of interest as Lowell M Palmer was my great grandfather and I appreciate the information and perspective on his long relationship with the Havermeyers. It’s only part of his story, but it took up most of his adult life and it has not been chronicled elsewhere. The B.E.D.T. Website is focused on the operation of the docks.
What were your best sources of information?

Thank you for writing the history!
Lenore Palm

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Read your history on the “Sugar King”. It was of interest as Lowell M Palmer was my great grandfather and I appreciate the information and perspective on his long relationship with the Havermeyers. It’s only part of his story, but it took up most of his adult life and it has not been chronicled elsewhere. The B.E.D.T. Website is focused on the operation of the docks.
What were your best sources of information?

Thank you for writing the history!
Lenore Palmer

Jane Jacobs Letter about Rezoning The East River Waterfront

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

My name is Jane Jacobs. I am a student of cities, interested in learning why some cities persist in prospering while others persistently decline; why some provide social environments that fulfill the dreams and hopes of ambitious and hardworking immigrants, but others cruelly disappoint the hopes of immigrant parents that they have found an improved life for their children. I am not a resident of New York although most of what I know about cities I learned in New York during the almost half-century of my life here after I arrived as an immigrant from an impoverished Pennsylvania coal mining town in 1934.

I am pleased and proud to say that dozens of cities, ranging in size from London to Riga in Latvia, have found the vibrant success and vitality of New York to demonstrate useful and helpful lessons for their cities—and have realized that failures in New York are worth study as needed cautions.

Let’s think first about revitalization successes; they are great and good teachers. They don’t result from gigantic plans and show-off projects, in New York or in other cities either. They build up gradually and authentically from diverse human communities; successful city revitalization builds itself on these community foundations, as the community-devised plan 197a does.

What the intelligently worked out plan devised by the community itself does not do is worth noticing. It does not destroy hundreds of manufacturing jobs, desperately needed by New York citizens and by the city’s stagnating and stunted manufacturing economy. The community’s plan does not cheat the future by neglecting to provide provisions for schools, daycare, recreational outdoor sports, and pleasant facilities for those things. The community’s plan does not promote new housing at the expense of both existing housing and imaginative and economical new shelter that residents can afford. The community’s plan does not violate the existing scale of the community, nor does it insult the visual and economic advantages of neighborhoods that are precisely of the kind that demonstrably attract artists and other live-work craftsmen, initiating spontaneous and self-organizing renewal. Indeed so much renewal so rapidly that the problem converts to how to make an undesirable neighborhood to an attractive one less rapidly.

Of course the community’s plan does not promote any of the vicious and destructive results mentioned. Why would it? Are the citizens of Greenpoint and Williamsburg vandals? Are they so inhumane they want to contrive the possibility of jobs for their neighbors and for the greater community?

Surely not.  But the proposal put before you by city staff is an ambush containing all those destructive consequences, packaged very sneakily with visually tiresome, unimaginative and imitative luxury project towers. How weird, and how sad, that New York, which has demonstrated successes enlightening to so much of the world, seems unable to learn lessons it needs for itself. I will make two predictions with utter confidence. 1. If you follow the community’s plan you will harvest a success. 2. If you follow the proposal before you today, you will maybe enrich a few heedless and ignorant developers, but at the cost of an ugly and intractable mistake. Even the presumed beneficiaries of this misuse of governmental powers, the developers and financiers of luxury towers, may not benefit; misused environments are not good long-term economic bets.

Come on, do the right thing. The community really does know best.

Sincerely,
Jane Jacobs

Promo for January 29th Reading MEDIA ALERT: Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty hosts Book Talk with Geoffrey Cobb, author of The Rise and Fall of the Sugar King: A History of Williamsburg, Brooklyn 1844-1909 WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN (January 12, 2018) – Historian and author Geoffrey Cobb will be giving a book talk on his acclaimed biography chronicling the Havemeyer family sugar dynasty. Before the Donut Luxury Rentals, before Domino Sugar, before Williamsburgh dropped the “h,” the Havemeyer family built the world’s largest sugar refinery, and constructed a sugar empire that made Henry Havemeyer one of the richest and most powerful men in America. The history of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the rise of the American sugar industry are so intertwined that it is impossible to separate them. This book chronicles Henry Havemeyer’s ascent and reign as the “Sugar King” of the United States. It is a tale of greed, crime, wealth, power and corruption, but it is also the story of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Rise and Fall of the Sugar King, based on extensive historical research, recounts the lives of a half dozen Williamsburg residents during the years from 1844 to 1909. Mr Cobb brings his biography to life in an equally colorful lecture and slideshow. WHERE / WHEN: Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty 299 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11211 (at corner of S1 Street) Monday January 29th 2018 7pm. Please RSVP to reserve your seat and ensure we provide enough refreshments: https://www.facebook.com/events/189366421648462/ This event is curated and sponsored by Michael Kawochka of Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty.