AIA Guide to New York City
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AIA Guide to New York City [Paperback]

by Norval White, Elliot Willensky
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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AIA Guide to New York City AIA Guide to New York City 4.4 out of 5 stars (25)
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Book Description

June 27, 2000 Aia Guide to New York City
Since the AIA Guide to New York City was first published in 1967, it has been recognized as the ultimate guide to the metropolis's buildings, in all five boroughs -- Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island -- from nineteenth-century brownstones and tenements to modern high-rise apartments and museums. The latest edition of this urban classic takes a fresh look at the architectural treasures that define New York -- from its most characteristic landmarks to its less famous local favorites.

To prepare this edition -- the first revision since 1987 -- Norval White has visited and revisited more than 5,000 buildings, making this by far the most complete guide of its kind. This generously illustrated handbook presents the structures of the New York City--from the magnificent to the obscure -- in over 3,000 new photographs, more than 130 new maps, and hundreds of revised and new entries. Beyond the skyscrapers and historical buildings, the guide also leads the way to the city's bridges, parks, and public monuments.

From the tip of the Empire State Building to the brownstones in Brooklyn, the AIA Guide to New York City reveals how the city's spirit, fortitude, and character are captured and expressed in its architecture. Thoughtful and humorous descriptions include fascinating bits of local information that bring the city's history to life, telling the stories behind the bricks and mortar. Together, the maps, photographs, and expert critiques invite you on a special grand tour of the city at your own pace.

This guide is a definitive record of New York's architectural heritage and provides a compact, authoritative directory for lovers of New York City all over the world. Its portability and encyclopedic quality make it an ideal traveling companion for any walker in the city. For the sightseer, the architect, or anyone on a casual stroll, the AIA Guide to New York City is the book to grab on your way out the door.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This very up-to-date new edition of AIA's Guide to New York City is a descriptive and interesting look at the city's changing assortment of architecture, including firehouses, parks, schools, parking garages, churches, bridges, and other landmarks. Composed of over 2000 new photographs (several per page), 100 maps, and hundreds of new short but brutally honest entries, the guide is arranged geographically by borough, and while it does indeed cover each one, the book inevitably focuses on Manhattan. White, an architect and educator, and Willensky (When Brooklyn Was the World) have divided each borough into sectors and then into neighborhood areas, and fairly lengthy commentaries under each heading describe the character of each division. There is an extensive index and a fairly interesting glossary at the beginning of the book. There is also a picture of a library that completed construction in late 1999. It has been 12 years since the last edition, so public and academic libraries may desire an updated copy, especially if there is interest in New York or its architecture.DAlison Hopkins, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Blithe in spirit and unerring in vision."
-- New York Magazine

"An architect's romp though five boroughs."
-- The Daily Record, New Jersey

"A book for architectural gourmands and gastronomic gourmets."
-- The Village Voice

"Keen wit and perceptive observations."
-- The Book of the Month Club

"A definitive record of New York's architectural heritage . . . a witty and helpful pocketful which serves as arbiter of architects, baedeker for boulevardiers, catalog for the curious, primer for preservationists, [and] sourcebook to students. For all who seek to know of New York, it is here.
No home should be without a copy."
-- Municipal Art Society

"Smart, vivid, funny, and opionated."
-- The New York Times

Product Details

  • Series: Aia Guide to New York City
  • Paperback: 1088 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 4 edition (June 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812931076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812931075
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 4.8 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete guide to New York City Buildings. August 10, 2000
This is a wonderful guide to many of the thousands of buildings in New York City. It is not, however, strictly an architectural piece. A study of the significant edifices in Manhattan this is not, since the photographs are mostly the size of postage stamps, and the text is limited. What it is is likely the most complete guide to the significant and not-so-significant buildings and monuments in New York's five major boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island). The most surprising aspect of this book is its sheer size and complexity. There are hundreds of small photographs (all in clear black-and-white) of nearly every building mentionned, and dozens of others of a more substantial size. There are also over 100 maps of each area, in sufficient detail to be useful for navigation, and a compehensive glossary and index.
Overall, this is a monumental book, and one which is definitely worth the price for anyone who is interested in the landscape of one of the most exciting cities in the world - New York. For the type of book it attempts to be, The Forth Edition AIA Guide to New York City is virtually without flaw.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maximum coverage at the cost of excessive brevity May 20, 2001
With any guide of this type, there is the dilemma of whether to cover briefly as many buildings as possible, or to cover relatively few buildings in greater depth. This book opted to maximize the number of buildings covered, about 5000 in all, each of which has a 1 x ¾ inch photo and a description that is often a single sentence. Those seeking a more intense treatment of individual buildings will not be satisfied. The emphasis here is on quantity of buildings covered, and of these, roughly half are beyond Manhattan Island. The book, which includes many detailed maps, seems written for someone wandering the streets investigating these buildings on foot, but the very awkward dimensions of this book make it impractical to put in a pocket.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive August 10, 2000
By A Customer
If you live in New York or you are fascinated by its architecture, you really should buy The AIA Guide to NYC. It is a remarkable tome, including more than 5000 buildings and 3000 stamp album style photos of structures in all five boroughs, ranging from Brooklyn to far Queens and from Staten Island through Manhattan and up to the extreme Bronx. It will hit your coffee table with a serious thunk, and provide endless browsing enjoyment. If you're visiting New York on a quick trip or want a selective overview, I discovered a new book that makes a good companion volume: The Architecture Traveler, by Sydney LeBlanc, which covers 250 American buildings. The author is evidently a New Yorker. About 60 of the buildings are in and around the city. It presents fewer buildings but presents a full page story on each of them. I bought both books: the AIA guide for comprehensiveness, the more selective Architecture Traveler for it's intriguing stories and for the rest of America, which it also includes.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly classic treasure trove of NYC info. January 29, 1999
This book is amazing in its depth of analysis and thoroughness of its study of the vast amount of architectural treasures in all five boroughs. As a native New Yorker (born in The Bronx, raised in Queens, high school in Manhattan) I was pleasantly surprised to find so many buildings that I admired to have a history behind them. A lot of little tid-bits are included in the book, for example did you know the park benches in the Battery Park Promenade are from the 1939 NY World's Fair? I didn't! Did you know that the same Guastavino tile vaulting found outside the Oyster Bar in Grand Central can be found at the Municipal Building at Centre Street? And at the NY Telephone Building at 140 West Street?
A must-have for anyone who loves New York. A true walker's handbook that includes suggested walking tours all over the city. Find out the story behind that old building you walk by on your way home to your Flushing apartment! I also found it fascinating to compare this third edition with the earlier "revised" edition of 1978 to see how much had changed and been lost. The 3rd edition was almost twice the size by the way! I hope a 4th edition is in the works by now.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible guide for architecture buffs August 22, 1999
Not exhaustive but highly portable reference guide for anyone interested in the architecture of New York City in general and Manhattan is particular. The shame of it is the most recent edition dates from 1988. Much has happened since then, and the contemporary references are frequently outdated. If your interests go back further in time you would do well to find a used copy. My own interest at the moment is cast iron architecture, James Bogardus' work in particular, and there is no better way to spend a day than wandering Tribeca and Lower Manhattan with the AIA Guide in hand.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nifty & educational June 29, 2000
By A Customer
I'm a new yorker who walks from home in the village to work in the world trade center. The AIA guide has opened my eyes to the buildings I pass on my routes each day. Now I just want to walk all over the city with this book in hand!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate of its Type March 8, 2002
I absolutely devour the 4th edition, though I am familiar with all previous editons as well. As one of the Principal Editors of the "Guide to Cleveland Architecture," 2nd edition (readers: please seek out our great book), a lover of New York and this book type in general, and a professional librarian and architectural historian, I can certainly appreciate the gigantic amount of research that went into creating what is actually a massive volume like this. Therefore I forgive some details such as inconsistency of Index selection, some date inaccuracies (very, very little percentagewise) or actual typo's, or details such as some maps of which the lettering goes in too many directions. I do wish there were some way suburban areas could be included - for the "total picture." Perhaps a companion volume? But - wow - what that would involve!
The text has so very many splendid sentences, phrases, and attitudes I can really appreciate the strong subjectivity in this case. Our text was actually criticized by our main Cleveland newspaper architectural critic as not being sufficiently opinionated like the NYC book... I did counter-criticize that critic in the "Plain Dealer" in that there are reasons for more objectivity in an urban architectural guidebook but, I can surely appreciate the magnificent writing of this book. Of course I can't agree with some of it either but, so what? The point is this book gives architectural, urban design, etc. the major, major significance it deserves. They're sure a big part of my life! Bravo!
The book also takes on an even higher relevance after 9/11, as the entire fabric in that fair-sized area of Manhattan is covered.
Nothing anywhere near up to it (Chicaco's AIA guide is the closest I've seen) and there are times I can barely put the book down! Now if I could only get to New York more...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars used once
The book is heavy, shaped like a block. It's a comprehensive guide to buildings in almost each block, three or four sentences for each building. Read more
Published on January 26, 2012 by drew17
4.0 out of 5 stars AIA City Guide
Was recommended this book by my architecture lecturer at NYU and it's definitely money well spent. Perfect for the reader who is interested in getting to know the architecture and... Read more
Published on November 24, 2008 by Gotham Be
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and Interesting--Especially for New Yorkers
This book may seem like nothing more than a tourist guide to New York City, but that assumption could not be further from the truth. Read more
Published on December 5, 2006 by Michael P. Wilkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating guide
This guide really opens up a perspective of Manhattan with tons of information on architecture and building styles. Read more
Published on January 18, 2006 by Ganhe
5.0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive Guide to the Greatest City in the World
This book is the benchmark for books of this type. It doesn't just focus on Manhattan, it does justice to the wonderful architecture in the other buroughs. Read more
Published on February 16, 2005 by Shannon Deason
5.0 out of 5 stars The City in your hand
What can we say about New York that hasn't been said? It's an awesome place, and its architecture is truly astonishing in scope, diversity and importance. Read more
Published on January 19, 2005 by Jon L. Albee
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep it close
I have been a New Yorker all my life and thought I'd known it all. There were buildings/structures that I knew to be older than most and probably landmarks, but never got around to... Read more
Published on March 14, 2004 by Rocco Dormarunno
1.0 out of 5 stars Written in a difficult English
I am going to be straightforward: the book is written in a slightly overblown language, which is not easy to understand for non-native English speakers. Read more
Published on February 6, 2003 by "andresluque2001"
We have just found our house in this book and it only confirms our objections to it... it's really opinionated and snotty. Read more
Published on January 7, 2002 by Elise Kanda
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be confused with the AA Guide to New York CIty
While doing research for my inventions, I find that a good book is priceless. I believe this book to be one of the best metropolitan guides that I've ever run across. Read more
Published on January 23, 2001 by "mr_bits"
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