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The Works: Anatomy of a City Paperback – November 27, 2007
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The Works contains a section on pretty much every aspect of the Big Apple's infrastructure. You'll learn the mystery of the shiny silver tanks that have become a familiar sight on New York streets. (They prevent moisture from damaging underground phone lines.) Ascher explains how the city's 23 million daily pieces of mail are processed. We also learn about the 27-mile underground pneumatic mail tube that used to carry canisters with 500 letters up to 30 miles per hour around Manhattan. Also interesting: the story of the nine-foot-long, 800-pound robot submarine that city engineers send to probe leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct--which, it might interest you to know, is the world's longest continuous underground tunnel. And you'll find out all about Colonel Waring and his "White Wings." A great coffee table book for New York lovers or anyone with a curiosity bone. --Alex Roslin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-Time Out New York
"It's a rare person who won't find something of interest in The Works, whether it's an explanation of how a street-sweeper works or the view of what's down a manhole."
-New York Post
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Top Customer Reviews
*an illustration of the special machinery used just to clean the ceiling of the Holland Tunnel.
*a sidebar on the "Poo-Poo Choo-Choo" that for years transported waste 2,000 miles (!) from NYC to a dump in Texas.
*a graphic showing payphone distribution density in all 5 boroughs.
*a drawing of the simple but effective interlocking bolts and cross-tie latching that keep the corrugated metal containers on barges connected to each other so upper containers don't slide off lower ones and fall into the water.
*a key to reading construction markings that crews spray paint on the streets.
Such drawings, historical tidbits, and facts are more abundant in this book than leaves in Central Park.
This book is exceptional. As the former Vice-chair of Manhattan Community Board 5 (greater midtown Manhattan), chair of its parks committee, and member of its land use and zoning committee, I can attest to the great value of Kate Ascher's remarkable accomplishment, "The Works." New York City's infrastructure--from garbage collection to traffic control; subway signaling to cable TV distribution among franchise-controlled territories--is one of the world's most multifaceted, and at times a curious mix of the high-tech and the antiquated.
Reviews suggesting that the text is for teenagers may be accidentally misleading. "The Works" by no means is for teenagers either *primarily* or *at the exclusion of* adults. Yes, the book--especially its more heavily-illustrated sections--will no doubt fire the imagination of many teens who have engineering, design, line drawing, architectural, historical analysis, or problem-solving aptitudes. (Have a teenager who loved Legos as a kid but has outgrown them?Read more ›
After reading "The Works," I now walk around New York with a completely different awareness of the incredible infrastructure that quietly undergirds the city: I constantly notice the design of fire hydrants, street signs, and man holes; I know what a "sidewalk neckdown" is; I understand how my water gets to me from the Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills through those crazy aqueducts (and they ARE crazy! they have a submersible submarine that perouses that thing for leaks!).
This book is a perfect gift for any man/boy/girl/hippo who likes to know how things work and likes to see them diagrammed in beautiful, scrumptious illustrations. I am one of these people.
But perhaps most importantly, this book made me forgive those terrible yellow trash trains that pull into subway stations late at night and immediately mean you will be waiting twenty more minutes for your train. I used to fear them. Now I know what they do. I forgive you, yellow trash trains.
The book covers every phase of public works including transit, power, communications, and clean-up. While the focus is on massive public works it's not just a book about technology but it personalizes the people who do all these jobs such as the engineers who climb the antennas on the Empire State Building for maintenance. The graphics are excellent and are a real aid in understanding how the systems work. The writing is clear and concise and very readable. After reading the book I have a new respect for the people who keep this largely invisible infrastructure running. Good reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Didn't realize that this was supposed to be a "lightly used" book, haha. It came with a few scuffs and bends, but I guess it's too late to return it since I already put my... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Gurtej Singh
Awesome book for infrastructure nerds or anyone who wants to know more about how things work around them. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Very well done. The illustrations are tirelessly detailed and there must be 1,000 of them. The text is well written and clear. Lots of fun to look thru.Published 2 months ago by Chester Copperpot
If you like NYC and curious about the inner workings, it is a plus for kids or adults that are into that stuff. Like a little mini Discovery Channel in paper back of the cityPublished 2 months ago by Kevin A.
A nice little book, but very broad and does not go into a lot of depth about the subjects it covers. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Caroline Mark
Loved it! Great graphics for kids and brings to life infrastructure!Published 5 months ago by bryson brown