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A History of New York in 27 Buildings: The 400-Year Untold Story of an American Metropolis

A History of New York in 27 Buildings: The 400-Year Untold Story of an American Metropolis

by Sam Roberts


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620409800
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 10/22/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 338,480
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sam Roberts is the Urban Affairs correspondent of the New York Times. He hosts The New York Times Close Up, which he inaugurated in 1992, and the podcasts Only in New York, anthologized in a book of the same name, and The Caucus. He is the author of A History of New York in 101 Objects and Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America, among others. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, and New York. He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.

Table of Contents

Timeline xi

Introduction 1

1 The Bowne House 6

2 St. Paul's Chapel 15

3 Federal Hall 22

4 City Hall 32

5 Domino Sugar Refinery 45

6 Tweed Courthouse 53

7 The Marble Palace 64

8 21 Stuyvesant Street 75

9 The High Bridge 83

10 123 Lexington Avenue 93

11 Pier A 102

12 The IRT Powerhouse 110

13 The Bossert Hotel 119

14 The Asch Building 131

15 The Flatiron Building 141

16 The Lyceum Theater 151

17 Sixty-Ninth Regiment Armory 161

18 The American Bank Note Plant 169

19 Grand Central Terminal 178

20 The Apollo 187

21 The Coney Island Boardwalk 197

22 Bank of United States 207

23 The Empire State Building 220

24 The Hunter College Gymnasium 229

25 First Houses 241

26 134 East Sixtieth Street 251

27 60 Hudson Street 261

Epilogue 270

Acknowledgments 273

Index 275

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