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Beyond the Edge: New York's New Waterfront Paperback – November 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Using 130 color and 39 b&w illustrations, Gastil offers examples from other cities and proposes a number of ingenious projects for the continued revitalization of Manhattan's edges, where the island "opens up beyond the topography of everyday life."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


" enlightening illustrated overview of the past century of New York's waterfront transformation." -- City Limits, March 2003

"An admirably instructive new book..." -- The New York Sun, February 19, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568983271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568983271
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.5 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Raymond Gastil has written an elegant, comprehensive account of the New York waterfront, but the significance of his book reaches far beyond that particular edge, into the very essence of the contemporary public realm. Gastil argues that the waterfront is "the paradigmatic site for the future of public life," a case he makes convincingly by reference to the history of modern urban development and detailed case studies from New York. Drawing on his extensive experience in the public realm (as author, designer, scholar, and public intellectual), Gastil provides the reader with an overview of past and recent attempts to recreate the New York waterfront, as well as examples from across the world.
The importance of this book lies in Gastil's ability to use the example of New York's waterfront to pose questions and draw broader conclusions about global urban issues and the very nature of the public realm today. I believe his deep insights into the current condition of our communities, the environment and public life in the early twentieth century will reward any reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Fisher on May 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Now that the iceberg of industry has receded from our urban waterfronts, cities around the world confront the question of what to do with their riverfronts and coastlines. Ray Gastil's book Beyond the Edge offers a wealth of ideas about this. Because of his position as the executive director of New York's Van Alen Institute, which focuses on the design of the public realm, Ray Gastil is particularly well suited to talk about the waterfront proposals for New York. His writing is concise, the information ample, and the range of projects he covers extremely wide. For any community or designer looking for ideas on what they might do with their waterfront, this book will serve as a valuable sourcebook. The book also examines projects in other cities, providing an important cross-cultural comparison and suggesting that New York, while admirable in all that it has done along its waterfront, does not have all of the answers.
You can't always judge a book by its cover, but you can this one. It has a very clever book jacket that unfolds to become a map of New York, showing the locations of the projects discussed within. A glimpse of the cover photo through a gap in the book jacket also creatively draws you in and, like the briskly paced prose, leaves you wanting to read on.
I highly recommend the book and I know of no other that covers this subject so thoroughly and in such an engaging manner. If I have one criticism, it is that there are not enough photographs or drawings of many of the projects. One photograph often cannot adequately convey, visually, a large urban-design or architectural proposal, and while the author's descriptions compensate for that lack of documentation somewhat, words can only go so far.
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Format: Paperback
For all its romantic history as a great port, not to mention its hundreds of miles of shoreline, New York is barely known today as a waterfront city. But after reading "Beyond the Edge: New York's New Waterfront" by Raymond W. Gastil, you'll be convinced that New York's future is on its waterfront. Gastil confronts the city's post-industrial malaise and demonstrates that after decades of shoreline deterioration, New York is on the verge of becoming a "dynamic waterfront metropolis." The book, which covers an array of exciting developments in all five boroughs--not just buildings, but also parks, ferry connections, water treatment plants and even the restoration of the world's largest garbage dump--is the most complete and up-to-date picture of change and opportunity on the New York watefront. At the same time, the book is much more than a survey or an architectural showcase of pretty pictures. It is above all a book of big ideas. As a participant in many New York projects and a writer/historian of the Brooklyn waterfront, I particularly appreciate Gastil's far-reaching scope and intelligent, well-informed analysis. With both a keen sense of local history and an international perspective, he describes cutting-edge projects in other world-class waterfront cities and sets the same high goals for New York. He sees the waterfront as an extension of the vital city, a place not just for high-rise housing, but as an integrated part of the urban infrastructure. Whether rebuilding Ground Zero or planning new sports facilities for the Olympics, New York should "celebrate its infrastructure," he maintains, with designs that challenge expectations and connect the waterfront to the city.Read more ›
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