From Publishers Weekly
Having once been called a "building genealogist" by a stranger, Gray is definitely something more than an architectural historian. His "Streetscapes" column for the New York Times has taken readers through the architectural history of Gotham for 15 years, and now his book will make that journey comprehensive and just as immediate. Winding from lower Manhattan to uptown, the vignettes present an image of a structure-sometimes a garden or viaduct or something besides a building-with a revealing short text. More than 300 black-and-white (often period) photographs depict the lavish and strange interiors and exteriors of the structures. The combination of Gray's elegant architectural writing (on MoMA's facade: "After that the curved canopy was replaced and the panels were either all replaced or altered to eliminate their variegated, milky quality") with his gossipy and historical anecdotes ("In 1893 Delmonico's was found guilty of serving woodcock out of season") makes this an indispensable book for New York and architecture enthusiasts. Gray does a service for a place where, as he writes, "information is lost to local memory far sooner than in a suburban or rural environment." New York becomes a four-dimensional object with his revelations, a layered thing that can be peeled and examined in time and space.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Christopher Gray has been writing his "Streetscapes"
column for The New York Times
for the past 15 years. A noted architectural historian, Gray has also written columns for Avenue
and House & Garden
magazines and has authored four books on New York City's architecture. Suzanne Braley studied urban planning and business at the University of Michigan, and historic preservation at Columbia University, New York.