It’s pretty slim pickin’s when it comes to New York City travel books catering to the spiritually inclined. With the exception of Mitch Horowitz’s Occult America, which has quite a bit of information on turn-of-the-century mystic happenings just north of the city, there’s not much out there when you’re looking for a book on city-centric occult hot spots.
Not to be dismayed, I recently got a hold of three books that, while focusing far too much on the “legitimate” traditions and their architecture (Christian churches, etc.), may, if I read between the lines with a magnifying glass, yield some secret heretical locales worth looking into.
The three books I got are:
- The Spiritual Traveler: New York City : The Guide to Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places
- From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan’s Houses of Worship
- Glory in Gotham
Unfortunately, each guide seems more vanilla than the next, and while there’s a passing mention of the Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 7, as well as a brief nod to the Dergah al-Farah in Tribeca, the closest either of the books get to something truly “out there” is a weird listing for the Temple of Isis at Dendur which is a permanent exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!
Really? That’s the only pagan place in the city worth looking into?
Remember when you were a kid and you wanted a pair of Z. Cavariccis for your birthday, but, thinking they were ahead of the game, your parents got you a pair of Land’s End slacks because “Hey, they’re the same thing only cheaper”? I kind of feel like that with these books.
Needless to say, I haven’t read them yet, so who knows…. Will keep you posted.