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Thread: New York City Books

  1. #1
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Default New York City Books

    I’ve just recently had a spending spree at Amazon.com resulting in several additions to my New York City collection. *Please excuse my nonexistent book reviewing/writing skills.

    1. *New York New York by Torsten Andreas Hoffman

    Hoffman had taken a series of black and white photos in Summer 2001 intended for a calendar but he decided that there were too many of the WTC. *Then 9/11 happened. *He then undertook to re-photograph (in colour) the same views post-9/11. *The result IMO is a very moving then-and-now document serving to remind us of what we all expect to be there, replaced by the eerie emptiness we see now. *I love this book – highly recommended.

    2. *Requiem WTC by Hideaki Sato

    Black and white photos taken before and after the WTC site was cleared and the subsequent construction of the Twin Towers from 1967-69. *Also documents life in NY at the time, from New Yorkers just going about their daily lives -- playing checkers, catching some sun, the ferry ride to work -- to anti-war demonstrations. *My favourite is one of a young girl with a placard that proclaims “War is Gory Not Glory”. *There are some nice misty shots of the completed Twin Towers from Greenwich Village, not at all an ugly juxtaposition. *Towards the end of the book are comparisons between the rubble during site clearance in 1968 and Ground Zero in 2001, heartbreakingly not at all dissimilar.

    3. *212 Views of Central Park, Mick Hales (photographer)

    A lovely book of images of every aspect of Central Park, from what people do in the Park, to the statuary, bridges and park benches, as well as the splendours of the plant life. *Some of the photos include built New York as a backdrop to the Park, reminding us that it’s not in isolation but surrounded by a very dense man-made urban environment, which I think complements the beauty of the Park, itself entirely man-made. *A favourite photo is a stunning view taken from the roof of a Central Park South roof of the reds, yellows, golds and a dash of green of Fall with the architecture of CPW and 5th Avenue regally standing sentinel on the perimeter. *It has become obvious to me from turning the pages of this book that one can never know just how beautiful Central Park is unless it’s experienced first-hand. *This wonderful book is second best.

    4. *Harlem Lost and Found by Michael Henry Adams

    A wonderful history of Harlem’s residential architecture in particular, but also discussing various other buildings, including churches and schools. *Accompanying the text (which I haven’t read yet) are gorgeous photos of building exteriors and street scapes as well as interiors. *Some of the earlier photos provide an amazing glimpse of Harlem’s former glory. *Let’s hope the current renaissance significantly contributes to its restoration. *My favourite views are of row houses on West 147th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive and on West 154th Street.

    5. *A Quiet Walk in Central Park by Frederic Winkowski

    Not as good as 212 Views but still a nice little book. *Interesting and engaging commentary accompanies each photo.

    6. *Wall Street by Robert Gambee

    This, of course, refers to the Financial District in general. *Includes photos of building exteriors and interiors (including trading floors – god, they’re messy dudes, but I don’t envy their tiny, cramped, non-personal working conditions) accompanied by extended, in-depth captions. *Includes a couple of gorgeous photos of the Twin Towers from Battery Park City and the Wall Street area from South Cove. *Also the J. Seward Johnson bronze statue of a man sitting looking into his opened briefcase, this time snow-covered, that was so poignantly depicted post-9/11 covered and surrounded by dust and paper.

    7. *Above Hallowed Ground, NYPD photographers

    Includes not previously published photos of 9/11 NYC. *I already have several 9/11 books but I thought this one would be a worthwhile addition, particularly for the (only) aerial shots taken of the scene by NYPD photographers. *A comprehensive and very moving account by those directly involved of that terrible day. *I always cry when I see the pathetically lonely, very recognisable, remaining fragments of the steel structure at the base of the Twins. *This image alone will forever remain etched in my mind. *Watching it live on TV was so surreal. *I still can’t believe the Twins are not there any more. *This book will remind me over and over again.

    8. *Brooklyn Then and Now by Marcia Reiss

    I have several other Then and Now books from this series (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston) which all provide me with endless hours of enjoyment and this latest addition is no exception. *Pretty self-explanatory -- black and white “thens” and colour “nows”. *I have several then and now books on NYC and what I find most engrossing (and fun) is examining the differences between the photos and discovering just how much and how little (or not at all) the views change over a significant time span. *That’s New York.

    9. *NY-71 Daido Moriyama

    I’m afraid I was very disappointed with this book. *It contains black and white photos (no captions or text) that are very grainy and often out of focus (obviously meant to be) taken by Daido Miroyama during his visit to NY in 1971. *The book is a paperback with a very minimalist exterior design that came in a thick, plain cardboard slipcase. *All very arty, but not my thing at all. *Perhaps it will become a collector’s item.

    10. *New York New York by Richard Berenholtz

    The ultimate coffee table book (if you’ve got an enormous, sturdy coffee table!). *This book is a numbered, limited edition (5000) which includes a separate print signed and numbered by Berenholtz. *Those familiar with Berenholtz’s photography will know that he favours detail and close-up images (gargoyles, tops of buildings, etc.) –- not my favourite style but the photos are still very evocative of the flavour and identity of NYC. *It includes several gatefolds containing panoramic views of the city which are several feet long. *Definitely a collector’s item.

    11. *New York by Esther Selsdon and Klaus H. Carl

    Published in 1999 (pretty old in publishing terms), this is essentially a picture book (I’m sure there’s a name for this kind of publication – mass market, el cheapo…?). *Nothing particularly special but still very New York. *I must say I was very frustrated by the less than helpful captions, for example, ”View of Manhattan”, when “Bryant Park” would have been equally economical with words but much more informative. *And another “View of Manhattan” which is unfortunately very small but a wonderful view of no less than four bridges in upper Manhattan (I think). *The section on Harlem and The Bronx was a bit perplexing. *I could be wrong, but two photos of fire escape-clad apartment buildings don’t look like they’re in Harlem. *One caption proclaims “Colourful façade in Harlem”, but I’m sure it’s a gallery in Soho and one photo is particularly puzzling. *The caption (ever unhelpful) says “Streets in Harlem” but the photo includes a street sign with “4th Ave” on it. *As far as I know (?), there is no 4th Avenue in Harlem and even after doing a bit of digging, I can’t work out where exactly it would be. *The 4th Avenues in The Bronx (Edgewater Park) and Queens (Malba? and Breezy Point) don’t seem to be contenders. *4th Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn maybe?? *The picture is taken from a side street looking towards the 4th Avenue sign and includes a rather sad rubbish-strewn, bill postered landscape with some poor soul sleeping amongst it all. *This may, of course, be an old photo. *Perhaps someone can shed some light on this. *Anyway, there’s a typo on the back cover (“costums” instead of “customs”) and a number of the larger photos are markedly (surely not intentionally) out of focus, so maybe this is an overall indication of the quality of the publication?….

    12. *Access New York City

    10th Edition. *I’ve always enjoyed this series since I first discovered it. *Numbered entries of hotels, restaurants, attractions, shopping and parks/outdoors corresponding with matching numbers on maps of each neighbourhood. *I’ve kept all the previous editions (I’m missing a couple) as a very interesting record of (again) how much or little New York changes over time. *Despite being obviously subjective in some respects (restaurant food choices, for example), I think this is one of the better “guides” to NYC. *Its format is easy on the eye and provides practical information for travellers, without bombarding them with (albeit sometimes interesting for armchair travellers) too much detail.

  2. #2

    Default New York City Books

    WOW! *Thanks, Merry!
    I love this forum, so much intelligence here.

  3. #3

    Default New York City Books

    If I am not mistaken, the only place that 4th Avenue exists in Manhattan is a small stretch between Cooper square and Union Square. *After that, it's Park Avenue. *So that should present a fairly narrow area from where that photo could have been taken.

  4. #4

    Default New York City Books

    I just wanted to add a favorite book of mine for the NYC traveler...The Fodor's Guide to New York City. *I have an older version, but I noticed at Borders there is a new 2003 ed. out!

  5. #5
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Default New York City Books

    Quote: from Eugenius on 1:36 am on Jan. 14, 2003
    If I am not mistaken, the only place that 4th Avenue exists in Manhattan is a small stretch between Cooper square and Union Square. *After that, it's Park Avenue. *So that should present a fairly narrow area from where that photo could have been taken.
    Yes, I did consider this, but didn't think it looked like that area at all, despite being close to the Bowery. *And Harlem is a long way from the East Village. *I've just had another look at the photo and I can just make out a sign on a building several stories high that says "Brooklyn Home of The News". *I can't make out what the words underneath say. *This building is in the cross street running through 4th Avenue. *There's also another building on the cross street with the sign "Underberg" and an address 420 Atlantic Avenue. *4th Avenue and Atlantic Avenue do intersect in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn. * I always thought Boerum Hill was a nice neighbourhood, but having read the entry in "The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn", apparently the area underwent a period of economic decline and in the early 1960s became *less than salubrious. *I'm no expert on American cars, but the ones in the photo look 1970s-ish, too. This may not be the answer, but it's amazing what you can find when you look properly!

  6. #6
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Default New York City Books

    ...speaking of looking properly, I think they must be going for a world record for the most mistakes in a book with this one, the number and basic basic nature of which beggars belief; not least getting bridges and buildings totally mixed up, not to mention the location of various sights being completely wrong.

  7. #7

    Default New York City Books

    For some good NYC eye candy,check out "Manhattan Unfurled",a fold-out,pencil sketch(with some interesting perspectives)of the entine Island of Manhattan's waterfront,by Matteo Pericoli. East Side,West Side.All around the town.
    I found these in the bargain bins:
    "Perpetual Motion",by Joe Mysak--"The Illustrated History of The Port Authority".It's a P.A. PR piece,but some good photos and stories of NY.--"Too Big to Fail",by Walter Stewart.Not entirely about NY,it's about the Reichmann family who owned Olympia and York,who developed the *World Financial Center.

  8. #8
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    I just found this site, which contains a sample of the photos in Torsten Andreas Hoffman's wonderful book of then and now photos of the WTC.

    http://www.auroraphotos.com/col_Geog...esTravel.shtml

    Go to the "Now and Then" section and click on View as Slide Show.

  9. #9

    Default NYC Books

    Hi all

    After visiting NYC for the first time in March this year, I am desparate to go back there!

    I wondered if anyone can recommend any books about new york, I don’t mean the tourist ones as I have a few of those that I brought before visiting this year, but id quite like to read up some more about the history of NYC etc.

    Please help

    Thanks

  10. #10

  11. #11

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    Try "The Historical Atlas of New York City" (Eric Homberger) Owl Books - for the basics - almost 200 pages.
    "New York An Illustrated History" (Ric Burns & James Sanders with Lisa Ades) Knopf Books - getting on for 600 pages and more in-depth.

    I would recommend both as really good 'coffee table' books.

    Try also "The Encyclopedia Of New York City" (Kenneth T.Jackson), Yale.
    This is a massive 1300 pages - and is for the inner anorak!

    You should be able to find all of these on Amazon.

  12. #12

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    I highly recommend New York an Illustrated History by Ric Burns, James Sanders and Lisa Ades. There is also a DVD series that goes along with it.

    http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index...entPage=search

  13. #13
    http://tinyurl.com/2ag28z Front_Porch's Avatar
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    What year do you want your New York?

    It's a wee bit cheesy, but Jack Finney's "Time and Again" is a novel about a guy who time-travels back to the New York of 1882 -- and of course it's a love story.

    My husband has great things to say about "Paradise Alley," which is Kevin Baker's story of the Civil War-era draft riots; move to the turn-of-the-century and you can see fictionalized Vanderbilts and Astors running around in Edith Wharton's "House of Mirth."

    For the beginning of the Twentieth Century, I'd pick "Manhattan Transfer" -- about a bunch of different characters struggling to establish themselves in the city -- and for the Roaring '20s, "You Can't Go Home Again," where a successful writer gets thrown out of his hometown and gets caught up in the NY party scene.

    ali r.

  14. #14

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    Brilliant thanks everyone for your help.

    Id quite like to start reading a few novels too after the history side of things. Will keep me going until i get to visit again!

    they had these dvd postcards in some gift shops out there, the pictures were so good, anyone know of any good books full of pictures? we took loads ourselves but i cant get enough to be honest!

  15. #15

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    Not so sure about books with good pictures - I very often browse through the photos posted on this site.

    Try here also:
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/newyorkers/pool/page1/

    You sound like me Bubble06 - can't get enough of NYC and yearn to return (soon!)

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