Book talk and signing: John Freeman Gill talks about his novel 'The Gargoyle Hunters' and about historic preservation, followed by a reception

Organized by
The Murray Hill Neighborhood Association

Date / Time
Sunday, November 4, 2018
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

A talk, followed by a book signing and reception.


John Freeman Gill talks about 'New York’s Gargoyles: The Immigrants Who Made Them and the Hunters Who Saved Them'

From the 19th-century European artisans who incised their imaginations into NYC’s ever-taller edifices, to the obsessive gargoyle hunters who rescued this distinctive American art form from ruin in the postwar period, John Freeman Gill tells a sweeping story of the creation, near demise, and ultimate salvation of some of the city’s most extraordinary visages.

Gill is a former reporter for The New York Times City section and author of the novel The Gargoyle Hunters, described by The Washington Post as “an unabashedly charming story” and by the Times as “marvelously evocative… exuberant… eye-opening … [an] urban Indiana Jones–like escapade.”

Join him for an illustrated talk about this quintessential New York adventure story.

Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

The talk will be followed by a reception with refreshments and piano music by Bob Dawson.


The Gargoyle Hunters, is a novel set in New York City in the 1970s, with references to Murray Hill people and places. It has a strong theme of historic preservation.

Thirteen-year-old Griffin Watts is drawn into his estranged father’s illicit architectural salvage business and clambers up the façades of tenements and skyscrapers to "liberate" their nineteenth-century architectural sculptures—gargoyles and sea monsters, goddesses and kings. As his father sees it, these evocative creatures, crafted by immigrant artisans, are an endangered species in an age of sweeping urban renewal.

The book is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a Booklist Best New Adult Fiction of 2017 pick.

Recently issued as a Vintage Books trade paperback, books will be available for sale & signing at the event. The book is also available in hardcover from Knopf.


John Freeman Gill is a native New Yorker. He is a former reporter for the New York Times City section. His work has been anthologized in The New York Times Book of New York and More New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of The New York Times. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, New York magazine, Literary Hub, Salon, the International Herald Tribune, and elsewhere.

He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, three children, and a smattering of gargoyles.

This event is co-sponsored by the Preservation & Design Committee of The Murray Hill Neighborhood Association and the Society of Jewish Science / Center for Applied Judaism.

Link to a video about John Freeman Gill's work as a gargoyle hunter:

Who Should Attend
Open to the public

Related Document

Registration Fees
MHNA and SJS members $15.00 per person

Non-members $20.00 Per person

Number of people to register:

Center for Applied Judaism / Society of Jewish Science
109 East 39th Street
(between Park & Lexington Avenue)

Additional Information
Telephone: 212-886-5867