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New York: Portrait Of A City
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2010
This lovely book follows the same format as Taschen's Los Angeles, Portrait of a City: a history based on named photographers though there are many fine images taken by anonymous snappers. The LA book had thirty-nine photographers but as this is New York it takes 124 of them and over 500 photos to expose the city.

All the regulars are here, photographers who have created that special look over the years. Abbott, Bubley, Eisenstadt, Feininger, Klein, Orkin, Riis and a good showing from Weegee but what I found fascinating was the number photos from anonymous sources. Right up to the late Forties unknowns had taken some quite remarkable shots revealing a particular aspect of the city. Some of these run over spreads throughout the book and they look stunning. Pages 108-109 have that famous shot of the sunlight streaming through windows at Grand Central Terminus, anonymous from 1929.

The book's five chapters look backwards over 160 years starting in 1850 and though maybe one could fault it by only using historical photos rather than a wider range of graphic images I think it succeeds because of this. The city has a long pedigree of photographic interpretation and some of the best works are in these pages. I thought it a plus that so many well-known images are mixed in with the dozens and dozens of not so well known shots and all collected in this big, chunky book. Another plus, least from my point-of-view, is that there are very few photos of popular culture celebrities. The celebrity is the city with nearly all the images exteriors showing the changing landscape, people (mostly just New Yorkers) or just out on the street.

Mixed in with the photos there are largish thumbnails of cultural graphic items: book jackets and posters for plays and movies. The back pages have an interesting listing of suggested cultural reading, listening and viewing and all the named photographers get a hundred or so word biography.

Like Taschen's LA book this is a lovely designed and printed title that takes a different and fresh look at New York. The large page size and huge photos celebrate one of the world's great cities.

***LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2010
There have been plenty of monographs about New York, and coffee table books full of visual cliches, but this impressive volume (8 lbs and 560 pages) is in a class by itself. Author Reuel Golden doesn't just round up the predictable photographs here. There are many well-known images, of course, but he has also combed the archives for lesser known and even unknown gems. The result is a rich and varied visual history of the city from about 1850 to the present, told through its people, landscapes, and architecture. Golden divides the book by eras, roughly coinciding with the influx of immigrants after 1850; the period of booms and busts between the two world wars; the post-war prosperity; the city's dark days from the mid 60s to the late 80s; and its relatively triumphant period since then. What shines through is the optimism and aspiration and relentless energy that defines the city, and constantly renews it. For anyone in your life who loves New York, this is the perfect book, at not much more than the cost of a cab ride from La Guardia.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
I could not put this boook down! The pacing conveys the drama and frenetic energy of the city through the last century and a half, and manages to be both photogrphic and social history at once. While not shying away from documenting the city's well-known rough edges (particularly during the crisis years of the 70s), I also found the book to convey a deep respect and love for New York. Love it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2010
Great book for New York lovers. Brilliant photos, stories and a definate keepsake or coffee table item. It's a big book!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2012
Whether you live in NYC or whether you love the city from afar, the selection of photos in this book is superb. Reuel Golden chose carefully, including photos from well-known photographers as well as relative unknowns. Some of the photos are easily recognized, but others feature different sights in this "photographers' paradise" city. I also love the graphic illustrations, as they truly add to the overall enjoyment. As an aside, the book is quite hefty - but that's all to the better, given the extensive contents.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2010
to love new york is to love this book, a celebration of our great city over the decades.
with historic perspective, sensitivity and nostalgia, new york: a portrait of a city honors it all.
highly recommend as a gift, or present to yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2011
This book is a miraculous example of how a "Portrait of..." of one of the over examined cities in the world can actually edify and succeed. Reuel Golden's insights and some very unique photographic choices are winning. There are, in very good measure, a few photographs you might well know and expect. The book soars, however, based on the images that are fresh in this context - Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro on the set of Taxi Driver, scores of images from "unknown" sources and a wonderful selection of Weegee images. Another great book from Taschen. Thank you Reuel Golden.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2014
We love New York and already have a few books about the City. The book is very heavy. It captures the history in beautiful pictures. I totally would recommend this book to everybody who wants to know more about New York City
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2012
Wow, what a great book. It's huge and it captures so much of NYC! This is a wonderful coffee table book as well as a comprehensive pictorial history of New York.
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on November 13, 2014
Love this wonderful "Table Book", photographs are most unique and beautiful, in depicting the history and spirit of my special city. The information and quotations, add to the experience of visiting and feeling the pulse of the growth and wonders of the awesome, New York City!!!! I often give this book as a gift to family and friends.
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