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Publisher's Summary

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.

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Average Customer Ratings

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Similar to a college course on New York

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Awesome

Awesome book, I love NY. Excellent narrator as well. Audible is helping me to improve my English.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 12-23-14

Not quite as I expected, but compulsively readable

What did you love best about The New York Nobody Knows?

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.

Have you listened to any of Mark Cabus’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but I do like him as a narrator; will definitely check out his backlist.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Borderline offensive.

Truthfully, I couldn’t get past hour 1. I was willing to give the author a little wiggle room because he’s born and raised in NYC, however there were SEVERAL comments in the first few chapters that ultimately led to this review and my deleting the book from my library. Namely, “stick your head in any restaurant in NYC and shout: ‘immigration’” and something else to the effect that it’s unlikely for poor or urban people to gain entry into Harvard.

I have lived in NYC for 15 years and, like the author, I too enjoy walking and discovering new neighborhoods. But this book seems very self-impressed and tone deaf and does not do the city justice.

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Mesmerizing take on why New York is New York

An inspiring project with insightful reflection, this book is must read for new yorkers, city dwellers, and prospective social scientists.