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New York Night: The Mystique and Its History

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0743242769
ISBN-10: 0743242769
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Caldwell's poetic approach to New York City is epic as he paints a portrait of New York nightlife from 1643 to the present. He brings past places and people alive with vivid imagery, gleaming like neon colors emerging from a twilight fog. The book becomes a time machine, beginning with 17th-century New Amsterdam's Wooden Horse tavern (dispensing "the volatile elixir that alternately held [the city] together and blew it apart"). As centuries flash by, Caldwell (The Last Crusade: The War on Consumption 1862–1954) hovers over milestones and architectural splendors. In 1836, the leading outdoor nighttime venue was Niblo's Garden, "famous for its fireworks and festoons of light," which glowed on Broadway long before millions of theatergoers began crowding the Great White Way. Many Manhattan industries—"theater, restaurants, newspapers, broadcasting—begin a crescendo of activity with each dusk," and Caldwell chronicles it all, from gaslights to gangsters, from riots to prizefights, from burlesque to Bickford's, from opium to heroin from the Beat Generation to the fiction of Richard Yates, from fame to obscurity. Plunging into the heart of darkness, this masterful work succeeds in illuminating the vast shadowy soul of New York.
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Review

"The magic of this book-the author's painterly way with light, the indelible images he conjures-lingers on like a Cole Porter melody, constantly shifting from dark to light, from major to minor keys. Mark Caldwell has an extraordinary gift for bringing the legendary and the obscure characters of night-time New York to life. As I read his book, it made me giddy to think I'm one of those fools who've made it their mission to keep the magic of the New York night alive." --Mary Cleere Haran, acclaimed cabaret singer
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743242769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743242769
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,398,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By R. A. Burke on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book this is! Mark Caldwell strikes the perfect balance between entertainment and information as he takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through more than 350 years of New York City history. But this is, by no means, a dry recital of names, dates, and accomplishments. Caldwell explores the life of New York City that begins when the sun goes down. Along the way we meet unforgettable characters such as George Templeton Strong, Ned Buntline, Madame Restell, Earl Carroll, Billie Holiday, and Walter Winchell as we travel from Fort Amsterdam to the discos and night clubs of the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties. The book is well-researched and well-written.
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Format: Hardcover
Revealing a city's intrigues is quite a job, and New York's would seem impossible, but Caldwell is plainly up to the job. He makes events( famous and not so) vivid and lyrical, and the people who make those events unforgettable. Sometimes bizarre, sometimes touching, this history of the world's most exciting place after dark is gorgeously written in a funny and sensitive way. Nicely researched. I liked it.
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Format: Hardcover
By virtue of an almost unimaginable amount of research going back to the mid-seventeenth century and continuing to 2004 Caldwell has constructed a magical and fascinating story of New York City. This book is an instant classic.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Too much emphasis on sex and gays towards the end of the book. No coverage of evening wonders at the World's Fair, professional sports after the Dodgers and Giants left town, and other important elements of Big Apple nightlife during the 60's and 70's. A disappointing end to a promising book.
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Format: Paperback
A deep sense of New York, in history and character. If you have a New York bookshelf, this one goes next to Gotham: A History of New York City. Caldwell is the lucid confidant, the trusted guide, the designated keyholder, even when the night gets hysterical.
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