As a child growing up in Manhattan, William Helmreich played a game with his father called "Last Stop." They would pick a subway line, ride it to its final destination, and explore the neighborhood. Decades later, his love for exploring the city is as strong as ever.Read more...
As a child growing up in Manhattan, William Helmreich played a game with his father called "Last Stop." They would pick a subway line, ride it to its final destination, and explore the neighborhood. Decades later, 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 journey 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 all walks of life. 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.
- ISBN-13: 9780691144054
- ISBN-10: 0691144052
- Publisher: Princeton University Press
- Publish Date: October 2013
- Page Count: 480
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-09
- Reviewer: Staff
From 2008 to 2012, City College of New York sociologist Helmreich systematically walked almost every street in the city, including those in the four outer boroughs—the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Helmreich (What Was I Thinking?) traverses the wide world located in a city whose population appears to come from every nation on the planet. His gaze is wide—sometimes “doing ethnography,” sometimes taking a nostalgic look at places he lived—and he engages with issues such as immigration, gentrification, and ethnic identity. The result comes close to providing an “everything you wanted to know, but didn’t know who to ask,” as the author visits parks, projects, schools, restaurants, and stores, observing the city’s active life (parades, street musicians, chess players) and still life (shop signs, street art, community gardens, building facades). Along the way, Helmreich chats with sundry people as well as the city’s last four mayors. Rigorous scholarly and journalistic research underpins his work. Though the narrative meanders, this is appropriate in a book that takes readers through the “balkanized collection of towns” that constitute New York City. The book’s maps (one of the entire city, and one for each borough) and a useful neighborhood glossary make the journey yet more vivid. 30 halftones, 6 maps. (Nov.)