03 November 2006

Today's find at the used bookstore

This is the 1971 revised edition of Jacobson & Emerson's Shells from Cape Cod to Cape May originally published in 1961. First I thought it was solely about seashells, so I was putting it back on the shelf when I noticed that it also had a section on land snails (in addition to marine and freshwater mollusks). The descriptions and figures were pretty good and there was quite a bit of useful historical information such as this.

In 1891, a colony of this snail [Stenotrema hirsutum] was recorded "in a small patch of woods" at what is now 13th Avenue and 74th Street, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. When we visited this spot recently, we found only concrete, bricks and steel occupying the location.

So I decided the price tag of $2.00 was worth the book.

The foreword, written by R. Tucker Abbott, starts as follows.

New Yorkers have an undeserved reputation of being subway moles living in a greenless world of night lights and smog. This idea is preposterous for two obvious reasons. Firstly, there is as much natural history to be observed in the parks, backyards and nearby beaches of New York City as there is in almost any other part of our country.