Book picks similar to
Sidewalk Critic: Lewis Mumford's Writings on New York by Robert Wojtowicz
The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Jane Jacobs - 1961
In prose of outstanding immediacy, Jane Jacobs writes about what makes streets safe or unsafe; about what constitutes a neighborhood, and what function it serves within the larger organism of the city; about why some neighborhoods remain impoverished while others regenerate themselves. She writes about the salutary role of funeral parlors and tenement windows, the dangers of too much development money and too little diversity. Compassionate, bracingly indignant, and always keenly detailed, Jane Jacobs's monumental work provides an essential framework for assessing the vitality of all cities.
The Works: Anatomy of a City
Kate Ascher - 2005
When you flick on your light switch the light goes on--how? When you put out your garbage, where does it go? When you flush your toilet, what happens to the waste? How does water get from a reservoir in the mountains to your city faucet? How do flowers get to your corner store from Holland, or bananas get there from Ecuador? Who is operating the traffic lights all over the city? And what in the world is that steam coming out from underneath the potholes on the street? Across the city lies a series of extraordinarily complex and interconnected systems. Often invisible, and wholly taken for granted, these are the systems that make urban life possible. The Works: Anatomy of a City offers a cross section of this hidden infrastructure, using beautiful, innovative graphic images combined with short, clear text explanations to answer all the questions about the way things work in a modern city. It describes the technologies that keep the city functioning, as well as the people who support them-the pilots that bring the ships in over the Narrows sandbar, the sandhogs who are currently digging the third water tunnel under Manhattan, the television engineer who scales the Empire State Building's antenna for routine maintenance, the electrical wizards who maintain the century-old system that delivers power to subways. Did you know that the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is so long, and its towers are so high, that the builders had to take the curvature of the earth's surface into account when designing it? Did you know that the George Washington Bridge takes in approximately $1 million per day in tolls? Did you know that retired subway cars travel by barge to the mid-Atlantic, where they are dumped overboard to form natural reefs for fish? Or that if the telecom cables under New York were strung end to end, they would reach from the earth to the sun? While the book uses New York as its example, it has relevance well beyond that city's boundaries as the systems that make New York a functioning metropolis are similar to those that keep the bright lights burning in big cities everywhere. The Works is for anyone who has ever stopped midcrosswalk, looked at the rapidly moving metropolis around them, and wondered, how does this all work?
Conversations with Mies van der Rohe
Moisés Puente - 2008
Focusing on this American period, Conversations with Mies van der Rohe, the latest addition to our Conversations series, gives fresh credence to this claim by presenting the architect's most important design concerns in his own words. In this collectionof interviews Mies talks freely about his relationship with clients, the common language he aimed for in his architecturalprojects, the influences on his work, and the synthesis of architecture and technology that he advanced in his designs and built works.Conversations with Mies van der Rohe makes an important contribution to the corpus of Mies scholarship. It presents a vivid picture of a master of modernism, bringing his artistic biography to a close while completing the scope of his style in terms of techniques, scale, use of materials, and typology. An essay by Iaki balos provides a context for these interviews and looks at Mies's legacy from a contemporary perspective.
Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan
Rem Koolhaas - 1978
Back in print in a newly designed edition, this influential cultural, architectural, and social history of New York is even more popular, selling out its first printing on publication. Rem Koolhaas's celebration and analysis of New York depicts the city as a metaphor for the incredible variety of human behavior. At the end of the nineteenth century, population, information, and technology explosions made Manhattan a laboratory for the invention and testing of a metropolitan lifestyle -- "the culture of congestion" -- and its architecture. "Manhattan," he writes, "is the 20th century's Rosetta Stone . . . occupied by architectural mutations (Central Park, the Skyscraper), utopian fragments (Rockefeller Center, the U.N. Building), and irrational phenomena (Radio City Music Hall)." Koolhaas interprets and reinterprets the dynamic relationship between architecture and culture in a number of telling episodes of New York's history, including the imposition of the Manhattan grid, the creation of Coney Island, and the development of the skyscraper. Delirious New York is also packed with intriguing and fun facts and illustrated with witty watercolors and quirky archival drawings, photographs, postcards, and maps. The spirit of this visionary investigation of Manhattan equals the energy of the city itself.
Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London
Lauren Elkin - 2015
Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities.That is an imaginary definition.'If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse?In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities.From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.
Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution
Janette Sadik-Khan - 2016
Her approach was dramatic and effective: Simply painting a part of the street to make it into a plaza or bus lane not only made the street safer, but it also lessened congestion and increased foot traffic, which improved the bottom line of businesses. Real-life experience confirmed that if you know how to read the street, you can make it function better by not totally reconstructing it but by reallocating the space that’s already there. Breaking the street into its component parts, Streetfight demonstrates, with step-by-step visuals, how to rewrite the underlying “source code” of a street, with pointers on how to add protected bike paths, improve crosswalk space, and provide visual cues to reduce speeding. Achieving such a radical overhaul wasn’t easy, and Streetfight pulls back the curtain on the battles Sadik-Khan won to make her approach work. She includes examples of how this new way to read the streets has already made its way around the world, from pocket parks in Mexico City and Los Angeles to more pedestrian-friendly streets in Auckland and Buenos Aires, and innovative bike-lane designs and plazas in Austin, Indianapolis, and San Francisco. Many are inspired by the changes taking place in New York City and are based on the same techniques. Streetfight deconstructs, reassembles, and reinvents the street, inviting readers to see it in ways they never imagined.
On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change
Ada Louise Huxtable - 2008
Her keen eye and vivid writing have reinforced to readers how important architecture is and why it continues to be both controversial and fascinating.In her new book--which gathers together the best of her writing, from one of her first pieces in the New York Times in 1962 on le Corbusier's Carpenter Center at Harvard, to essays in the New York Review of Books, to more recent writing in the Wall Street Journal--Huxtable bears witness to some of the twentieth century's best--and worst--architectural masters and projects.With a perspective of more than four decades, Huxtable examines the century's modernist beginnings and then turns her critic's eye to the seismic shift in style, function, and fashion that occurred midcentury--all leading to a dramatic new architecture of the twenty-first century. Much of the writing in On Architecture has never appeared in book form before, and Huxtable's many admirers will be delighted to once again have access to her elegant, impassioned opinions, insights, and wisdom."Looking back, I realize that my career covered an extraordinary period of change, that I was writing at a time in which architecture was changing slowly but radically--a time when everything about modernism was being incrementally questioned and rejected as we moved into a new kind of thinking and building." And while it was a quiet, nearly stealth revolution, it was a absolutely a revolution in which the past was reaccepted and reincorporated, periods and styles ignored by modernism were reexamined and reevaluated. History and theory, once considered irrelevant, became central to the practice of architecture again."
Here Is New York
E.B. White - 1948
White's stroll around Manhattan remains the quintessential love letter to the city, written by one of America's foremost literary figures. The New York Times has named Here is New York one of the ten best books ever written about the metropolis, and The New Yorker calls it "the wittiest essay, and one of the most perceptive, ever done on the city.
A Lesser Photographer: Escape the Gear Trap and Focus on What Matters
C.J. Chilvers - 2018
Less gear. Less anxiety. Less stress. Less fear. A Lesser Photographer is the missing guide you've always wanted to the only gear that really matters: the gear between your ears. In under an hour, you’ll be able to identify the myths you’ve been taught about photography and embrace useful creative habits that will set you apart. Praise for previous editions: “For something beautiful and well-said, check out A Lesser Photographer.” — David duChemin “Amazing read…I really recommend everyone get a copy.” — Chris Marquardt “CJ Chilvers reevaluates what it means to be a photographer in this manifesto. Most of the points apply to virtually any creative endeavor or obsession. ‘The real show is outside the viewfinder.’” — Jim Coudal “I have to say, CJ has a great attitude. If you care at all about photography, he’s a must read.” — Patrick Rhone “Every photographer should follow CJ Chilvers.” — Eric Kim
Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York
Sari BottonHope Edelman - 2013
Their essays often begin as love stories do, with the passion of something newly discovered: the crush of subway crowds, the streets filled with manic energy, and the sudden, unblinking certainty that this is the only place on Earth where one can become exactly who she is meant to be.They also share the grief that comes like a gut-punch, when the grand metropolis loses its magic and the pressures of New York's frenetic life wear thin for even the most dedicated dwellers. As friends move away, rents soar, and love—still—remains just out of reach, each writer's goodbye is singular and universal, just like New York itself.
All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity
Marshall Berman - 1982
In this unparalleled book, Marshall Berman takes account of the social changes that swept millions of people into the capitalist world and the impact of modernism on art, literature and architecture. This new edition contains an updated preface addressing the critical role the onset of modernism played in popular democratic upheavals in the late 1920s.
Piecework: Writings on Men Women, Fools and Heroes, Lost Cities, Vanished Calamities and How the Weather Was
Pete Hamill - 1996
Veteran journalist Pete Hamill never covered just politics. Or just sports. Or just the entertainment business, the mob, foreign affairs, social issues, the art world, or New York City. He has in fact written about all these subjects, and many more, in his years as a contributor to such national magazines as Esquire, Vanity Fair, and New York, and as a columnist at the New York Post, the New York Daily News, the Village Voice, and other newspapers. Seasoned by more than thirty years as a New York newspaperman, Hamill wrote on an extraordinarily wide variety of topics in powerful language that is personal, tough-minded, clearheaded, always provocative. Piecework is a rich and varied collection of Hamill's best writing, on such diverse subjects as what television and crack have in common, why winning isn't everything, stickball, Nicaragua, Donald Trump, why American immigration policy toward Mexico is all wrong, Brooklyn's Seventh Avenue, and Frank Sinatra, not to mention Octavio Paz, what it's like to realize you're middle-aged, Northern Ireland, New York City then and now, how Mike Tyson spent his time in prison, and much more. This collection proves him once again to be among the last of a dying breed: the old-school generalist, who writes about anything and everything, guided only by passionate and boundless curiosity. Piecework is Hamill at his very best.
Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul
Jeremiah Moss - 2017
But today, modern gentrification is transforming the city from an exceptional, iconoclastic metropolis into a suburbanized luxury zone with a price tag only the one percent can afford.A Jane Jacobs for the digital age, blogger and cultural commentator Jeremiah Moss has emerged as one of the most outspoken and celebrated critics of this dramatic shift. In Vanishing New York, he reports on the city’s development in the twenty-first century, a period of "hyper-gentrification" that has resulted in the shocking transformation of beloved neighborhoods and the loss of treasured unofficial landmarks. In prose that the Village Voice has called a "mixture of snark, sorrow, poeticism, and lyric wit," Moss leads us on a colorful guided tour of the most changed parts of town—from the Lower East Side and Chelsea to Harlem and Williamsburg—lovingly eulogizing iconic institutions as they’re replaced with soulless upscale boutiques, luxury condo towers, and suburban chains.Propelled by Moss’ hard-hitting, cantankerous style, Vanishing New York is a staggering examination of contemporary "urban renewal" and its repercussions—not only for New Yorkers, but for all of America and the world.
Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York
Luc Sante - 1991
This is not the familiar saga of mansions, avenues, and robber barons, but the messy, turbulent, often murderous story of the city's slums; the teeming streets--scene of innumerable cons and crimes whose cramped and overcrowded housing is still a prominent feature of the cityscape.Low Life voyages through Manhattan from four different directions. Part One examines the actual topography of Manhattan from 1840 to 1919; Part Two, the era's opportunities for vice and entertainment--theaters and saloons, opium and cocaine dens, gambling and prostitution; Part Three investigates the forces of law and order which did and didn't work to contain the illegalities; Part Four counterposes the city's tides of revolt and idealism against the city as it actually was.Low Life provides an arresting and entertaining view of what New York was actually like in its salad days. But it's more than simpy a book about New York. It's one of the most provocative books about urban life ever written--an evocation of the mythology of the quintessential modern metropolis, which has much to say not only about New York's past but about the present and future of all cities.
On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes
Alexandra Horowitz - 2013
You are missing what is happening in the distance and right in front of you. In reading these words, you are ignoring an unthinkably large amount of information that continues to bombard all of your senses. The hum of the fluorescent lights; the ambient noise in the room; the feeling of the chair against your legs or back; your tongue touching the roof of your mouth; the tension you are holding in your shoulders or jaw; the constant hum of traffic or a distant lawnmower; the blurred view of your own shoulders and torso in your peripheral vision; a chirp of a bug or whine of a kitchen appliance.On Looking begins with inattention. It is not meant to help you focus on your reading of Tolstoy; it is not about how to multitask. Rather, it is about attending to the joys of the unattended, the perceived "ordinary." Horowitz encourages us to rediscover the extraordinary things that we are missing in our ordinary activities. Even when engaged in the simplest of activities - taking a walk around the block - we pay so little attention to most of what is right before us that we are sleepwalkers in our own lives. So turn off the phone and portable electronics and get into the real world, where you'll find there are worlds within worlds within worlds.