by Chris Clemens
To help you on your journey with discovering your next Upstate New York book to read, I’ve decided to share more about what I’m reading. For January, I’m kicking off this book of the month series with: Weird New York.
The “weird” series actually goes well beyond New York and now hits every state. The two authors are from New Jersey. So, while they’re not exactly New Yorkers, they were familiar with us when they started.
If you haven’t heard of a “zine” before, it’s essentially a homemade magazine. They were popular in the 90’s and gave the average person a chance to publish content. In many ways, zines preceded the concept of a blog.
Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman of New Jersey began their zine about interesting and odd stories they discovered. They self-published a pamphlet of interesting facts, weird places, and intriguing news from the Garden State. As interest grew, their concept for a zine slowly became the outline for a book.
Weird New Jersey set the stage for these guys to use the same template for storytelling around the country. The Weird series has since crossed borders and they’ve done a book about weird things in a lot of states. A lot of states, including ours.
Weird New York
The Weird New York book is an easy to read compendium of random stories from all over the Empire State. You could sit down and read it right through cover to cover, or skip around. Each story that’s mentioned only features at most two pages, and in some cases, just a paragraph.
These guys talk about everything from the duck-shaped store on Long Island to the crazy story of the clawfoot people from Zoar Valley in Western New York. They touch on haunted folklore, random roadside attractions, and intriguing people.
To add some credibility where they couldn’t travel themselves, they publish a lot of letters and snippets from locals to help tell each story.
Even for a guy who spends nearly all his time searching new stories in Upstate New York, the Weird New York book was able to turn me on to some new ones. If you’re looking for a super easy to read book with some fun facts, I think you’ll dig this one.
Purchase ‘Weird New York’
There’s a whole bunch of ways to purchase Weird New York, but by snagging it through Amazon using this link, you’re helping to support Exploring Upstate. A small portion of Amazon’s income from any purchase made through a link here is sent back to support content on this website.
Chris Clemens is the Founder/Publisher of Exploring Upstate. From his hometown in Rochester, he spends as much time as possible connecting with the history, culture, and places that make Upstate New York a land of discovery. Follow him on Twitter at @cpclemens