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Kew Gardens: Urban Village in the Big City - An Architectural History of Kew Gardens
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Top Customer Reviews
Author Barry Lewis is a New York native who has lived in Kew Gardens for thirty years. He teaches architecture and interior design in New York City and has contributed to a number of guide books. As a resident of the neighborhood, I was happy to come upon this nicely researched, amply illustrated, and intelligently written book on one of New York's more successful and resilient residential communities. Lewis does a good job of giving the history of the Kew Gardens and of explaining how it differed from other experiments to create residential garden communities within large cities in the early part of the twentieth century. He explains how the tone was set at the very beginning by the community's developers, Albon Man and his offspring. They sought to create a workable diversity within a harmonious whole: both commercial and residential, with both private homes and apartment buildings, and which allowed a number of architectural styles. The flavor of the community was also one of diversity (unlike its neighbor, Forest Hills, Jews and people in the performing arts were welcome from the beginning). Residents of the community will certainly enjoy reading this book. But so will students of urban planning and architecture.
The book includes a bibliography consisting mostly of articles cited in the text; it would have been more helpful if it also listed a few more comprehensive works on urban development and architecture. The book could also have benefited from a glossary of architectural terms, an index, and a walking tour that would take people past significant landmarks discussed in the text.