Born August 1, 1819 in New York City, Herman Melville.
In New York’s West Village, where I live, the streets are filled with literary “ghosts” –reminders of the great writers who lived and worked in this historic district of New York. Every day that I walk around the neighborhood, is like getting a literary education. It’s one of reasons I love to live here.
Nearby is Grove Street, which is where Tom Paine once lived. They say the locals called it “Raisin Street” back then because Paine had recently written the Age of Reason –its French raison sounded like “raisin.”
And around the corner from Grove is winding, narrow Commerce Street and the Cherry Lane Theater, where Waiting for Godot had its premiere.
But one of my favorites is Herman Melville, who worked in the Customs House on Gansevoort Street –in what is now the white hot center of the “Meatpacking District.”
Melville’s early success did not last and he took the Customs House job to make a living. He died on September 28, 1891, in New York City. His unpublished work, the novella Billy Budd was discovered after his death and published in 1924, 33 years after his death.
Find out more about Melville at his home in the Berkshires, Arrowhead and the Melville Society