The definitive book on Mexico City: a vibrant, seductive, and paradoxical metropolis-the second-biggest city in the world, and a vision of our urban future.
First Stop in the New World is a street-level panorama of Mexico City, the largest metropolis in the western hemisphere and the cultural capital of the Spanish-speaking world. Journalist David Lida expertly captures the kaleidoscopic nature of life in a city defined by pleasure and danger, ecstatic joy and appalling tragedy-hanging in limbo between the developed and underdeveloped worlds. With this literary-journalist account, he establishes himself as the ultimate chronicler of this bustling megalopolis at a key moment in its-and our-history.
According to author Lida, Mexico City is the archetypal city of the 21st century and a model for how cities are evolving. A sprawling immensity of more than 20 million people, many of them poor, Mexico City took shape with almost no planning and remains plagued by congestion, pollution and poor services. Yet for Lida, Mexico City provides excitement and spontaneity that has been lost in the big capital cities of the developed world. In discrete chapters, Lida covers sex, traffic, tacos, the routines of street vendors, the feared kidnappings and many other aspects of the city's culture. A longtime resident and working journalist in the city, Lida has a firsthand familiarity with its cantinas and crime, its markets and malls, and the daily life of its inhabitants, called chilangos. Lida also leavens his journalism with personal stories, such as a meeting with a tireless cab driver who eats onions for energy and his own experience of being kidnapped. Unfortunately, Lida's ambitious attempt to provide a panoramic view of the city is not served well by his prose, which rarely rises above standard-issue journalese. In the end, however, his book makes an excellent general guide to Mexico City.