cover image Brooklyn: A Personal Memoir with the Lost Photographs of David Attie

Brooklyn: A Personal Memoir with the Lost Photographs of David Attie

Truman Capote, photos by David Attie. The Little Bookroom (Random, dist.), $29.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-936941-11-7

This new edition of Capote’s (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) often-anthologized 1959 essay pairs the original text with an extensive set of rediscovered black-and-white photographs by David Attie. Capote was originally commissioned to write his admiration of Brooklyn, his home borough by choice, for Holiday magazine, with Attie assigned to follow the writer around his Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and home in the spring of 1958. Though a few of these images appeared in the magazine, the majority were lost for decades, only to be discovered recently by Attie’s son and included here. The essay itself continues to stand on its own merits, Capote’s meandering thinking and gorgeous prose preserve the waterfront architecture and eccentric locals he had come to love while his contemporaries praised Manhattan. The photos amp up the nostalgic beauty—men sitting in chairs outside “the civic league” office, the Romanesque Revival architecture of the now-gone Hotel Margaret, and a toddler and father watching a building being bulldozed, among them. The Brooklyn celebrated here is definitively, as the title promises, Capote’s personal Brooklyn, and it might seem a far cry from other documentations of the borough in the 1950s. For fans of the writer or devotees of New York history, the celebration of this place, where, “in the greenless grime-gray, oases do occur, splendid contradictions,” will be a valuable memento. B&w photos. (Nov.)