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Julia Wertz goes time traveling in New York

Julia Wertz, creator of the wry graphic memoirs The Fart Party, Drinking at the Movies and The Infinite Wait, has turned her hand to a different sort of subject matter: little-known aspects of the history of New York City.

The comics run in The New Yorker under the title "N.Y.C. Mystery History Hour," and the subjects so far include Fiorello LaGuardia's ban on pinball machines, the story of Bottle Beach in Dead Horse Bay, the fate of the uniquely designed lampposts made for the 1964-45 World's Fair and, most recently, the Hess Spite Triangle. She has also done a fascinating then-and-now piece on the theaters of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Earlier this month she launched another series, this one of drawings of neighborhoods in the past and the present day, for Harper's. The first one looks at three blocks of Greenpoint as they were in the 1920s and they are today.

Wertz is an avid urban explorer who likes to not only visit abandoned places but also dig into their past. She writes about her experiences on a blog called Adventure Bible School, and the comics are a logical extension of that.

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