The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City

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The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City

by William B. Helmreich

Princeton University Press | October 20, 2013 | Hardcover |

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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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 480 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.79 in

Published: October 20, 2013

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0691144052

ISBN - 13: 9780691144054

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– More About This Product –

The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City

by William B. Helmreich

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 480 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.79 in

Published: October 20, 2013

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0691144052

ISBN - 13: 9780691144054

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Maps xvi
1 Introduction 1
2 Selling Hot Dogs, Planting Flowers, and Living the Dream: The Newcomers 21
3 Diners, Love, Exorcisms, and the Yankees: New York''s Communities 71
4 Dancing the Bachata, Playing Bocci, and the Chinese Scholars'' Garden: Enjoying the City 137
5 Tar Beaches, Sidewalk Carvings, Irish Freedom Fighters, and Superman: Spaces in the Big Apple 169
Illustrations following page 215
6 From Washington Heights to Hudson Heights, from Soho to Soha: Gentrification 231
7 Assimilation, Identity, or Something Else: The Future of Ethnic New York 296
8 Conclusions 346
Notes 369
Neighborhood Glossary 395
Bibliography 401
Index 437

From the Publisher

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.

From the Jacket

"A modern-day flaneur, ethnographer William Helmreich moves engagingly through the streets and neighborhoods of New York, making pithy and substantive observations that place the everyday lives of the city''s diverse peoples in a peculiarly revealing light. The New York Nobody Knows is a brilliant representation of everyday lives of New Yorkers, and as such--what Baudelaire did for Paris, Helmreich''s work promises for New York."--Elijah Anderson, author of The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life

"Helmreich''s original and incredible book shows what every nook and cranny of this city looks like from the inside. I have never seen a work that amasses so many observations from so many scenes and deploys them with such elegance. It is a monumental and inspiring achievement."--Mitchell Duneier, author of Sidewalk

"William Helmreich has walked everywhere and read everything pertinent on New York, and has many astute observations about both the essential spirit of the Big Apple and its rapid changes. Recommended to all lovers of this particular city, and cities in general."--Phillip Lopate, author of Waterfront: A Walk around Manhattan

"The book offers an intriguing journey through the jagged patchwork of New York neighborhoods. Helmreich is a native son who has never lost his love for the city, its unusual characters, and its capacity to absorb change."--Sharon Zukin, author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places

"Original and important, The New York Nobody Knows presents a picture of the inner life of the city, bit by delightful bit, as a complete whole. The book is enchanting in a wonderfully old-fashioned way."--Peter Moskos, author of Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore''s Eastern District

"In a clear storytelling manner, Helmreich makes the case that New York is a vibrant, complex, and diverse municipality grappling with a range of social conditions and different forms of social change, all of which are affecting America''s major cities. I know of no other work comparable in scope."--Alford A. Young Jr., author of The Minds of Marginalized Black Men: Making Sense of Mobility, Opportunity, and Future Life Chances

Editorial Reviews

"In the genre of ''books tallying mammoth heroic self-imposed feats'' comes William B. Helmreich''s engaging account of how he logged 6,000 miles on foot through all the boroughs of NYC, accumulating many insights into the eternal, multi-ethnic metropolis."--Barnes and Noble Review
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