As a kid growing up in Manhattan, William Helmreich played a game with his father they called "Last Stop." They would pick a subway line and ride it to its final destination, and explore the neighborhood there. Decades later, Helmreich teaches university courses about New York, and his love for exploring the city is as strong as ever.
Putting his feet to the test, he decided that the only way to truly understand New York was to walk virtually every block of all five boroughs - an astonishing 6,000 miles. His epic journey lasted four years and took him to every corner of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Helmreich spoke with hundreds of New Yorkers from every part of the globe and from every walk of life, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former mayors Rudolph Giuliani, David Dinkins, and Edward Koch. Their stories and his are the subject of this captivating and highly original book.
We meet the Guyanese immigrant who grows beautiful flowers outside his modest Queens residence in order to always remember the homeland he left behind, the Brooklyn-raised grandchild of Italian immigrants who illuminates a window of his brownstone with the family's old neon grocery store sign, and many, many others. Helmreich draws on firsthand insights to examine essential aspects of urban social life such as ethnicity, gentrification, and the use of space. He finds that to be a New Yorker is to struggle to understand the place and to make a life that is as highly local as it is dynamically cosmopolitan.
Truly unforgettable, The New York Nobody Knows will forever change how you view the world's greatest city.
©2013 Princeton University Press (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I was looking for a book with facts about New York before I visit on vacation. This book offered a study on the people of New York in the six major burrows. It is insightful and entertaining.
I enjoyed the premise, what the author did to get to know the city he grew up in. It is a comprehensive look at the many different "categories" of New Yorkers, their differences in race, class, religion, and the perceptions of living space, sidewalks, transportation... I think I expected him to go by neighborhood and describe the socioeconomic, racial and religious differences, but I think the finished product is more readable - broken up into different categories and sub-categories.
I haven't, but I do like him as a narrator; will definitely check out his backlist.
I loved this book! I am going to New York in the very near future, and will definitely consider many points brought out in this book. I will re-read it again upon my return, contrasting my own perceptions as (admittedly) a tourist.
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