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Description de l’éditeur
From the urban affairs correspondent of the New York Times--the story of a city through twenty-seven structures that define it.
As New York is poised to celebrate its four hundredth anniversary, New York Times correspondent Sam Roberts tells the story of the city through bricks, glass, wood, and mortar, revealing why and how it evolved into the nation's biggest and most influential.
From the seven hundred thousand or so buildings in New York, Roberts selects twenty-seven that, in the past four centuries, have been the most emblematic of the city's economic, social, and political evolution. He describes not only the buildings and how they came to be, but also their enduring impact on the city and its people and how the consequences of the construction often reverberated around the world.
A few structures, such as the Empire State Building, are architectural icons, but Roberts goes beyond the familiar with intriguing stories of the personalities and exploits behind the unrivaled skyscraper's construction. Some stretch the definition of buildings, to include the city's oldest bridge and the landmark Coney Island Boardwalk. Others offer surprises: where the United Nations General Assembly first met; a hidden hub of global internet traffic; a nondescript factory that produced billions of dollars of currency in the poorest neighborhood in the country; and the buildings that triggered the Depression and launched the New Deal.
With his deep knowledge of the city and penchant for fascinating facts, Roberts brings to light the brilliant architecture, remarkable history, and bright future of the greatest city in the world.
New York Times urban affairs correspondent Roberts (A History of New York in 101 Objects) delivers a lively history of 27 architectural structures symbolic of New York City's progression from Dutch colony to urban colossus. Chosen for their importance to the city's economic, political, and cultural evolution, these 27 "buildings" include High Bridge, the oldest standing bridge linking Manhattan to the U.S. mainland; First Houses, the nation's first low-income public housing project; and the Coney Island Boardwalk. Roberts's selections range from the legendary (the Flatiron Building; Grand Central Terminal) to the obscure (123 Lexington Ave., the brownstone where Chester Arthur was sworn in as U.S. president after the assassination of James Garfield in 1881). Some have been preserved (the Bowne House in Queens, site of an important chapter in America's history of religious freedom), while others have been stripped of nearly everything but their exteriors (the Bronx branch of Bank of United States, where a bank run in December 1929 helped to kick off the Great Depression). Though Roberts can occasionally get bogged down in the details, he proves to be a witty and informed narrator whose enthusiasm for his subject is contagious. This lucid account will help New Yorkers to see their city in a new light.