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Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City Paperback – March 24, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Most of this guide book is devoted to an exhaustive catalog of New York City history, beginning with glaciers' impact on the geography of Central Park and ending (161 chapters later) with the aftermath of 9/11. Not for cover-to-cover reading, this guide from a tour-guide/entrepreneur husband-and-wife team is best approached from behind, with the 14 walking tours that cap the volume; each highlighted site references the relevant chapters preceding. Considering New York's dense history, these tours offer something for everyone: the Greenwich Village tour alone encompasses the Stonewall Inn, considered the birthplace of gay rights; Jefferson Market Courthouse, the nation's first night court; and the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. Not even natives know this much; even if they do recall the late-19th and early-20th century tenement laws meant to improve living conditions (chapter 84), they'll probably be surprised to learn where the city's first tenement is located (chapter 32). From the 1765 Bowling Green Park protest of the Stamp Act to the 1980 murder of John Lennon outside the Dakota Apartments, this extremely thorough sidewalk-level guide is rich with 20 years of combined tour experience. Photos and maps.
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Review

"I was born in New York and lived there for years, but I had no idea what I was missing until I picked up Inside the Apple. It's jammed with fascinating pieces of history and great nuggets of trivia. I can't wait to walk Manhattan again with this book in hand." -- Noah D. Oppenheim, coauthor of the bestselling The Intellectual Devotional™ series

"As a longtime New Yorker, I never tire of walking the streets and uncovering something new about the world's most fascinating city, where every street has a story to tell. Inside the Apple is a gem of a book, filled with nuggets about New York's extraordinary past, from the sidewalks up. Whether you are a tourist exploring for the very first time or a seasoned walker in the city, this book is a must." -- Kenneth C. Davis, author of the bestsellers America's Hidden History and Don't Know Much About® History
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Original ed. edition (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141658997X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416589976
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I live in NYC and admit that I am daily taking all of the great sites around me for granted. I saw the positive NY Post review about the book and decided to buy it. It was well worth every penny. This book is broken down into concise, well-written and clever chapters (182 of them! Great info!) that do a phenomenal job of introducing the reader to little-known facts about a huge variety of areas in the city. I've learned more things about the city in reading the book than I have in the 6 years I've lived here!!

I fully admit that I am not even "into" history and found this book fascinating. AND they include 14 walking tours at the end of the book.... my husband and I went on one this weekend as a "date" and had a wonderful (COST-FREE) day. I can't wait until the spring when we can go on all of the tours!

I'm going to buy this for all of my NYC friends and will hand it over to any out-of-towners visiting me looking for fun things to do in the city. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who lives in or will visit NYC (or anyone just interested in learning more about the city).

Can't wait to see what these authors have lined up next.
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Format: Paperback
I really loved this book. Both the historical account of the city and the walking tours work amazingly well as if separate books, and the way they integrate into one another so seamlessly makes this a truly unique resource. I disagree with Publisher's Weekly where they said that "Inside the Apple" was not for cover to cover reading. In fact, I read it cover to cover and found it both fascinating and easy to read. You don't need to be out there using it as a tour book--it makes an excellent history of the city for anyone interested in New York.
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Format: Paperback
As a historian, I'm truly impressed with the way this book succeeds in presenting a wealth of in-depth, thoroughly researched information about New York City history in a highly readable, sometimes downright humorous, manner.

On one hand, Inside the Apple traces a chronological history of the city from its Native American settlements to the present, divided into thematic chapters such as The Early City (1600s), The Growth of the Immigrant City (mid-1800s) and Boom and Bust (1920s). By focusing on a number of well-chosen places, people and events in each period, the authors bring their stories to life. For instance, the section on The Great Port (1805-1835) includes detailed discussions of: DeWitt Clinton's role in implementing Manhattan's street grid; the consruction of the city's first tenement building; and the hugely destructive but little remembered Great Fire of 1835.

Complementing the chronological history, the book also contains a collection of self-guided walking tours. Fourteen easy-to-follow tours, accompanied by maps, appear at the end of the book and continually refer readers back to the historical discussions. So, when you come upon a statue commemorating the Great Fire while walking through Central Park, you're directed to the earlier chapter on the fire.

I recommend this book for visitors to NYC, for history buffs, and also for life-long New Yorkers who are sure to uncover layers of the past hiding in plain sight just beyond their doorsteps.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was born and raised in NY and I love it so much. There's so much history everywhere. I can walk down a street in some parts and just "see" how it was to walk down that same street 100 years ago.

I first got the kindle version, but did not find it to be very useful. You need to flip back and forth sometimes in the book because there are maps and such. So I got the paperback and I love it. Very informative book on NYC history and the famous people who helped built this city.

Update: After reading some of the reviews it seems some tourists have bought this book as a means to sightseeing. If you plan on doing that I would highly recommend you get another book specifically for that purpose. This book is not a travel guide, but more of a history book and the maps and such are only there to supplement the telling of the history of this great city. However this can make a great supplement to a travel guide if you are a tourist. I am a NY native, but I learned a lot from this book. For example, I learned that the reason "Wall Street" is named such is because back in the late 1600's there was a literally a big wall there! Built to protect New Yorkers from British colonists and it was built by a collaboration of NY volunteers, residents and black african slaves. Perhaps this rare culture of black slaves working side by side with free men was the reason why in the 1700's "The New York Manumission Society" was founded... which was a group of white males who thought slavery was ungodly and wrong and they fought to abolish it. This society also founded a school specifically meant to educate the children of black slaves so that they could grow up to compete in the market place as free adults. All this and more happened right here in NY! I walked these streets for years not understanding their meaning and now I do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're in New York and are lucky to take a walking tour with James Nevius, it will be the best one you'll ever have. Of the dozens of tours we've taken over the years, the skyscraper tour with James still stands out as the best. We are very seasoned New York visitors, ex-pat New Yorkers, actually, always looking for things we can do with family and friends to keep the visits fresh. James and Michelle have written a wonderful, comprehensive book, that's almost as good as having them walking beside you. They are incredibly knowledgable. Highly recommended!
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