Looking through the photos might take a
bit longer, and they are the real appeal of this book. With some say in
which photos were selected, Schneider had some fun. Her favorite photo
shows newlyweds amazingly close to Niagara Falls in 1894; they aren’t
20-something nor do they look especially happy. But considering the
ordeal of taking a photo more than a century ago, it’s no surprise
subjects often look miserable. Interestingly, Schneider notes, that
photo is among several that came from the Bernhards Bay Country Store,
676 Route 49, in the Oneida Lake hamlet.
A remarkable photo from Meg Schneider’s book about
New York state. It shows a mature looking newlywed couple (was 40 the
new 70 a century ago?), photographed perilously close to Niagara Falls.
The book explores the history of the
places, traditions and events that have defined New York state for more
than 400 years. Historic photos and illustrations are paired with
modern color images to show how much things have changed, or hardly at
all. New York takes the reader from New York City, up the
Hudson Valley to the Adirondacks, west to the St. Lawrence Seaway,
south to Central New York, including Cooperstown, over to Syracuse,
with a chapter on the State Fair, into the Finger Lakes and Rochester,
south to Chautauqua Lake and finally north to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
“The hardest thing for me was making
sure that every piece didn’t sound the same,” Schneider explains of the
challenge of forcing a lot of information into a little space. “They
are all short little nuggets and when you do so many of them it starts
to feel formulaic. I was careful to make sure that didn’t happen.
“I had a lengthy conversation with my
editor, Josh Leventhal, about the kind of things we wanted to cover. He
is originally from New York City, and was up front about not knowing a
lot about upstate. There is so much in this state that isn’t New York City. The Battle of Oriskany,
for example; not many people outside of this area know about it. Or
that there was a glass factory in Cleveland at the turn of the century.
I wanted to include that information, and Josh was very amenable to
As for her professional credentials, this is Schneider’s seventh book; her eighth, due at the end of the year, is Making Millions for Dummies.
After years working as a journalist and winning numerous awards, the
Iowa native now works in the Communications Department for the Oneida
Nation. “I’ve been a writer most of my life,” she notes, “mostly in
journalism, but lately in PR. But ever since I can remember I wanted to