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The WPA Guide to New York City: The Federal Writers' Project Guide to 1930s New York (American Guide) Paperback – September 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 700 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565843215
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565843219
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.7 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This and several similar guides were sanctioned by the Federal Writers Project in the 1930s. Published in 1939, WPA Guide, which was praised by the New York Times as "one of the best books ever published about New York," dissects the wicked city in minute detail with the aid of maps and photos. With the American Library Association meeting in Manhattan next July, this book will help librarians brush up on the Big Apple.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Useful, broadly informative, and amazing. -- The New York Times, 23 July 1939

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
Despite its extensive detail, the text is a facinating read.
Roman Pitio
They will long for all those street people they once found so disturbing, just like I already long for them.
Douglas B. Barr
Anyone interested in New York City will find this book absolutely fascinating.
Rob

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rob on June 17, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone interested in New York City will find this book absolutely fascinating. Imagine being transported to the City's golden age -the years during which America was emerging from the Depression---and before being thrust into World War Two. The City is chronicled neighborhood by neighborhood and includes interesting historical background information. With this book you will see New York through the eyes of the past; One of my all time favorites.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul S. Jellinek on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Part of a massive government-sponsored writing project to help put the nation's writers back to work during the Great Depression, the WPA Guide to New York City takes the reader back to the New York City of the 1930's, neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, building by building. You can almost taste the blintzes on the Lower East Side and the aroz con pollo in Spanish Harlem. This remarkable book about our nation's most remarkable city is as close to time travel as you can get--and what a trip!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. T. Creecy on July 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the third copy of this book I've bought over the years; I gave the other two to New Yorkers.

Like the rest of this long series of guides to U.S. destinations, it was written under the Roosevelt-era W.P.A. by an array of higly talented, highly unemployed writers.

If you love the City, or even are curious as to What Went Wrong, this particular guide is a great work. Wonderful Black and White photos, and fine writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert O. Knecht on June 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This well written guide had intersting facts about this - the greatest city in the world. The majority of the buildings described are still standing. The descriptions of the city in 1939 are facinating to read. Well worth reading if you are planning to visit 21st century New York and a must for any New Yorker
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas B. Barr on July 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a collection of books about New York. I perfer to read about it these days more than visit it, because I want to remember a time when you encountered something other than a camera toting, bermuda shorts wearing well-heeled tourist family on the sidewalks. It seems thats all you see now. What happened to all the people who slept on the benches, what happened even to all those orthodox jews with long beards? So much seems to have dissapeared since the late 70s.What happened to 42nd street- it looks like disneyland now, makes me wanna just about barf! What happened to the "Times Square Motor hotel" or the Sloane house YMCA on 34th st? Nine dollars a night back in '78. Back in those days, a teenage kid could come to Manhattan and be able to afford a room. The cheapest room you gonna find now is $250.00, for the most cramped room you ever stayed in. Unless you go to a bar and find some native willing to rent you a spare room in an apartment. They have chased out everybody except tourists, this was the goal it seems.All the natives are gone! It was Gulianni who did it, back in the late 80s- early 90s, and it has only continued to get worse since then. New York used to take pride in being one of the more compassionate big cities, as far as the poor were concerned, and as far as diversity was concerned. 911 seems to have done far more damage than anybody even is honest about
This book was written at a time when I most would like to have visited, 1939. And reading this book is about as close as you can get to visiting in those days. It has been called the best book about New York. The only one that might be as good, in my opinion, is "You Must Remember This", the book of reminisances by people who lived in Manhattan between 1890- 1940, edited by Jeff Kisseloff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roman Pitio on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
A facinating treasure trove of detailed and documented information on New York's neighborhoods. The bibliorgaphy is an invaluable but often neglected resource. Despite its extensive detail, the text is a facinating read.
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