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New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of the New York Times Paperback – May 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0814775721 ISBN-10: 0814775721 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814775721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814775721
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The City section of the Sunday edition of the New York Times features vivid accounts of life, past and present, in the five boroughs. Rosenblum, who edits the City section, has collected 40 representative pieces that showcase the ups and downs of life in a metropolis that still exerts a gravitational pull on those seeking their fortune. Many of the essays are by well-known authors, such as Jan Morris, Phillip Lopate and Vivian Gornick, but others, equally winning, are by emerging writers. All of the pieces are engrossing and share a painstaking attention to craft. Mel Gussow dramatically evokes the day in 1970 when the Greenwich Village townhouse next door to him, occupied by members of the radical Weather Underground, was blown apart in an accidental detonation in their basement bomb factory. On a lighter note, Tara Bahrampour recounts the paradigmatic New York experience: searching for an affordable apartment. Field Maloney and Jill Eisenstadt each relate the glory days of Queens's Rockaway Beach as a summer resort, its sad decline and enduring allure. This is both an excellent addition to New York history and a pleasure for casual browsing. B&w photos. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“This collection of engaging stories will appeal to a broad range of adult readers interested in pushing back the concealing vapors of legend to discover the otherwise hidden gears and cogs that keep the enchanted ideal of New York City humming smoothly along.”
-Foreward

,

“Given the subject matter, it should come as no surprise that the pieces evoke a powerful sense of place. Coming as this does from the pages of the New York Times, it is also no surprise that the material is of high literary caliber.”
-Library Journal

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“Rosenblum, who edits the City section, has collected 40 representative pieces that showcase the ups and downs of life in a metropolis that still exerts a gravitational pull on those seeking their fortune. Many of the essays are by well-known authors, such as Jan Morris, Phillip Lopate and Vivian Gornick, but others, equally winning, are by emerging writers. All of the pieces are engrossing and share a painstaking attention to craft. … This is both an excellent addition to New York history and a pleasure for casual browsing.”
-Publishers Weekly

,

“A reminder that there are stories still untold in New York, and writers hard at work to find them for us.”
-The New York Times Book Review

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“You don't have to have a particular interest in the Big Apple to pick up this book. These are stories of human life in all its quirky richness. . . . New York Stories is a series of love letters to a city that, for all its problems and peculiarities, beckons people from all over the world.”
-Boston Globe

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
On occasion, I read two books at about the same time which are an "odd couple" indeed. For example, this book and Dale Maharidge's Denison, Iowa. As editor, Constance Rosenblum focuses on the "glories, frustrations, and peculiar appeal" of New York City and the same can be said of Maharidge's perspectives on Denison. Although there are many stunning differences between the two cultures, both exemplify the best and worst of what is often referred to as the "American Experience."

With regard to this book, Rosenblum has assembled a selection of articles which first appeared in the Best of the City section in the Sunday edition of the New York Times. In quite different ways, they reveal what she calls "the essence of one of the world's extraordinary places." The material is organized within four Parts: A Sense of Place, Moods and Mores, New Yorkers, and City Lore. Articles are grouped accordingly although several could be included in several of the four. The variety of subjects and points-of-view seem especially appropriate to New York. For example:

In "The House on 11th Street," Mel Gussow reflects back three decades to when young radicals blew up an elegant brownstone house in Greenwich Village, sharing "echoes of the past" which continue to linger.

In "Nothing But Net," Thomas Beller describes "a patch of asphalt" in a West Village playground which seems like an "empty page in the urban landscape" because it needs players "to give it meaning."

In "The Allure of the Ledge," Ivor Hanson explains why the window washer is "the ultimate risk taker, the ultimate voyeur" while "working close to the clouds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun on February 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books for better, but never completely, understanding New York whether you live there or not. Compiled from the City Section of The New York Times, a section which began in 1993 the short, illuminating essays included appeared between 2000 and 2004. The collection covers a fascinating time in the city's history even though its history is interesting all the time. It kicks off with a beautifully written introduction from Constance Rosenblum, the section's editor who reveals her feelings for both the city's environs and inhabitants. The book has four sections; A Sense of Place, Moods and Mores, New Yorkers, and City Lore.

Starting in A Sense of Place, `The House on West 11th Street' is a fine first choice as a New York story telling a brownstone's history that includes its destruction by The Weathermen, its neighbor Dustin Hoffman, and its rebuilding. `The Old Neighbors' essay muses on those who have previously lived in our homes. In Moods and Mores, it was fascinating to hear from a window washer in `The Allure of the Ledge'. Fear, voyeurism, and pride in profession make this an eclectic and engaging piece. This section overall provides a vivid picture of home life in an incredible dense and complex place. The search for an appropriate apartment is a frustrating odyssey revealed in `There's No Place Like Home. But There's...No Place'. Suzanne Vega's pursuit of a driver's license and a bizarre electrical death are other standouts in this section.

People accounts in `New Yorkers' include the fascinating Collyer brothers and some less notable hoarders who made their nests in the city. Fare beaters, panhandlers and other characters are included in the collection.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Welcome to Editor Constance Rosenblum's "New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of the New York Times."

Scattered across four sections, forty stories are poised, waiting to be set free. Free to voice a singular truth. Free to join a chorus of commonality.

From exploding homes, to pickup basketball as culture, readers are spirited to central park: an island of calm amongst a sea of chaos. Then sip latté ala Starbucks that serves up not only foamy caffeine, but also temporary living space for chronically pigeonholed apartment dwellers. Don't look up, as spiraling heights await degree-wielding window washers, while far below, ocean-spawned breakers seduce urban surf hounds shoreward. Nowhere else, but this land of improbable realities, is it feasible to imagine a hopeful, newly licensed driver who could bake her birthday cakes under the combined heat of forty-plus candles.

Readers of all slants may pluck strands from this fabled city's Golden Fleece; yanking urban myths from whispered shadows into unflinching light. Meet the Collyer brothers who appear, not merely as compulsive collectors, but as fellow human beings lured down a tragic path. Pass by the King of Slugs, a man who cheated the subway, but eventually paid in full. Then chance upon an indiscernible man of the streets and discover he has more than a handful of change; he has a name. Finally, after diving for sunken treasure, sit vigil with a young nurse over a boy who, one day, fell from the sky.

New York, larger than life? No. It is life.
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