Brooklyn Heights Native’s Dylan Book Excerpted in New York Times

Brooklyn Heights native/Princeton history professor/Nabeguy’s brother/ official historian of the Bob Dylan website Sean Wilentz’s new book Bob Dylan In America is excerpted in today’s New York Times:

NY Times: While I was growing up in Brooklyn Heights, my family ran the 8th Street Bookshop in Greenwich Village, a place that helped nurture the Beat poets of the 1950s and the folk revivalists of the early 1960s. My father, Elias Wilentz, edited The Beat Scene, one of the earliest anthologies of Beat poetry. Down from the shop, on MacDougal Street, was an epicenter of the folk-music explosion, the Folklore Center, run by my father’s friend Israel Young, whom everyone called Izzy, an outsized enthusiast with an impish grin and a heavy Bronx-Jewish accent. Nothing in that setting was anything I had sought out, or had any idea was going to become important. As things turned out, I was just lucky.

On occasional pleasant Sundays, we’d take family strolls that almost always included a stop at the Folklore Center, which was crowded wall to wall with records and stringed instruments and had a little room in the back where musicians hung out. My first memories of Bob Dylan, or at least of hearing his name, are from there—Izzy and my dad would talk about what was happening on the street, and I (a son who wanted to look and act like his father) would eavesdrop. Only much later did I learn that Dylan first met Allen Ginsberg, late in 1963, in my uncle’s apartment above the bookshop.

Share this Story:


  • Obama?

    Awfully nice folks those Wilentzes! Looks like a fascinating book on the very interesting & talented Bob Dylan!

  • nabeguy

    Thanks Obama? Not a bookshop customer by any chance, were you?

  • Brownstoner

    …and former academic advisor of Brownstoner

  • nabeguy

    Jeez, the things I learn about my brother on-line! He’s never mentioned his connection to me.

  • William Spier

    Hey Nabeguy,


    Anyone can write a gushing book about the seminal American cultural figure of the 20th Century; but, can he write one on democracy in America; one that is so good I would consider it as great a work as WEB Debois “Reconstruction”?


  • nabeguy

    I’ll let him know how much you admire his work Bill.