After graduating from P.S. 150, I attended the less friendly J.H.S. 125, after which I moved with my family to Rego Park and mainly lost track of my Sunnyside friends, except for a few memorable reunions many years later. At Forest Hills High School, I played tenor sax, and by the time I graduated and went to Columbia, I was pretty sure I'd major in English. After Columbia ('64), I spent another five years at Harvard, where I got my Ph.D., at which point I moved to Philadelphia to begin teaching English and American Studies at Temple University.
In the years since, while teaching, I edited the Encyclopedia of American Studies (eleven years) and I've authored or edited ten books, including The Death and Life of Main Street: Small Towns in American Memory, Space, and Community (2012), which has a chapter devoted in part to Sunnyside. My most recent book is Empire of Ruins: American Culture, Photography, and the Spectacle of Destruction, which will be published by Oxford University Press in early 2021. I received the Bode-Pearson Prize in American Studies for lifetime achievement from the American Studies Association.