New York City Reads
Reading list inspiration for travel
Books & eBooks
- Abstract Expressionism: Themes and MovementsView on Amazon Emerging in the post-WWII years, the art movement established NYC as the epicenter of the modern art world. By Katy Siegel, Lillian Davies, and Pauline Pobocha.
- Architecture Guide to Soho & TribecaView on ApproachGuides.com* Explore downtown NYC's fantastic cast iron architecture with our walking tour and guide to the best buildings.
- Downtown: My ManhattanView on Amazon The NYC-resident novelist leads us on an unforgettable journey through the city he loves, from the island's southern tip to Times Square, combining a moving memoir of his days and nights in New York with a passionate history of its most enduring places and people. By Pete Hamill.
- GothamView on Amazon A cover-all 1000-plus-page history of the city. By Edwin G Burrows and Mike Wallace.
- Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed AmericaView on Amazon The definitive book on the city's most famous transportation landmark. By Sam Roberts.
- Here is New YorkView on Amazon Perceptive, funny and nostalgic, the recounting of a brief stroll around Manhattan remains the quintessential love letter to the city, written by one of America's foremost literary figures. By EB White.
- Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New YorkView on Amazon A compelling look at Manhattan history from four different angles: the actual topography of Manhattan from 1840-1919; the opportunities for vice and entertainment; the opposing forces of law and order; how contradictions between the tides of revolt and idealism vs the city as it actually was. By Luc Sante.
- Ten Architectural Walks in ManhattanView on Amazon The Municipal Art Society's guide to ten excellent walks in the city. Consider taking their tour of Grand Central. By Francis Morrone and Matthew A. Postal.
- The Great BridgeView on Amazon The fantastic story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. By David McCullough.
- The Iconography of Manhattan IslandView on archive.org Originally published from 1915-1928, this six-volume series is one of the quintessential historical accounts of New York, rich in images and illustrations. Free on the Internet Archive. By I N Phelps Stokes.
- The Power BrokerView on Amazon A classic. The story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York by Robert Moses. By Robert Caro.
- Up in the Old HotelView on Amazon A collection of the best of the New Yorker writer's observations on offbeat inhabitants of the city. By Joseph Mitchell.
- Writing New York: a Literary AnthologyView on Amazon A sweeping literary portrait of the city as seen through the eyes of over a hundred writers. Edited by Phillip Lopate.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “Creating Central Park”View on MetMuseum.org An excellent read. The history and design of the park that the defines the city. By Morrison H Heckscher.
- “Danny Meyer is on a Roll”View on NYTimes.com A profile of the restaurateur who created Union Square Cafe and pioneering fast-casual Shake Shack. By Sean Wilsey.
- “Everything, Everywhere”View on NewYorker.com From the Shmear Dept. Until recently, the everything bagel was of murky origin. No longer. By Michael Schulman.
- “Find Your Beach”View on NYBooks.com The greatest thing about Manhattan is the worst thing about Manhattan: self-actualization. Here you will be free to stretch yourself to your limit, to find the beach that is yours alone. By Zadie Smith.
- “Grandmaster Flash Beats Back Time”View on NYTimes.com A profile of the the pioneering New York hip-hop DJ who, unlike many of his peers from the music’s early days, continues to work. By John Leland.
- “Inside A Secret Basement Powering The Subway’s Pioneering Wireless Network”View on FastCompany.com By 2018, every underground subway station in New York with have cellular service and Wi-Fi. The gear in this secret basement will keep riders connected. By John Paul Titlow.
- “Manhattan’s Last Frontier Becomes a Mini-City”View on ctbuh.org The largest real estate project ever undertaken in the United States, Hudson Yards is mixed-used development built over rail yards on the west side of Manhattan. Its unprecedented scale and sophistication provide a model for sustainable urban development and architectural interventions. By Marianne Kwok.
- “NYC to LA to NYC to LA, ad infinitum”View on NewYorker.com When I realized that New York was a cesspit filled with the viscera of broken dreams, I decided that the time had come for me to move to beautiful, sunny Los Angeles. By Cirocco Dunlap.
- “The Anatomy of a Publisher”Visit The Cut's website The story of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, the famed NYC book publishing house. By Robert Gottlieb.
- “The Carefully Cultivated Soul of Soul Cycle”Visit The Cut's website On the casting process for New York's cult leader-like spin instructors. By Alex Morris.
- “The Complex Task of Preserving Donald Judd’s Legacy”View on artnews.com Judd purchased 101 Spring Street in SoHo for $68,000 in 1968, transforming the building into a forceful expression of his aesthetic and philosophical preoccupations, installing artworks and objects in harmony with the architecture. By Zöe Lescaze.
- “The Dumbest Person in Your Building is Passing Out Keys to Your Front Door!”View on NewYorker.com NYC's battle with Airbnb. By Jessica Pressler.
- “The Mystery of Duane Reade”View on NYMag.com The aisles are an obstacle course, the staff moves at glacial speed, and the prices aren’t even that low. How the drugstore chain took over NYC. By Ian Mount.
- “The Naked Cowboy Manifesto”View on RoadsandKingdoms.com For the last three years, photographer Darren Ornitz has been getting to know the Naked Cowboy, the iconic Time Square staple who strums his guitar in his underwear. Here, he shares his images of the man behind the famous six-pack. By Darren Ornitz.
- “The Old House at Home”View on NewYorker.com A story of a New York City landmark, McSorley's Old Ale House. By Joseph Mitchell.
- “Three Generations Under One Roof”View on NYTimes.com Portrait of a Chinese-American family living in New York. By Sarah Kramer.
- “Walking New York”View on NYTimes.com Sonny Rollins’s favorite corner of the Williamsburg Bridge. The best can-collecting route in Bushwick. An interactive guides to New Yorkers’ most memorable walks in the city.
- “Wild in the Streets: A 24-Hour Field Guide to New York City”View on NYTimes.com It is surprising to some that there is anything natural remaining in 21st-century New York City. But to any New Yorker willing to look for it, nature is visible around the clock. By Dave Taft.
Online Sources & Blogs
- 24-Hour Guide to New York CityVisit FEDguides.com Spend 24 hours following the city's top chefs, bartenders and sommeliers to their favorite New York haunts.
- Best Wine Bars in Downtown NYCVisit Approach Guides Wine* Our picks of the absolute best.
- Central Park Interactive MapVisit centralparknyc.org An interactive map to all the landmarks in Central Park. Also includes a runner's map.
- NY Art BeatVisit NYArtBeat.com A comprehensive listing of NYC's active arts scene. They have a good app too.
- OldNYCVisit OldNYC.org Shows 40,000 historical images from the New York Public Library's Milstein Collection on a map. Find photos of your apartment, work, or favorite park!
- The Subway SystemVisit web.mta.info For a good map of the subway. You can also download the app.
- Edgar Allen Poe (1808-1849)Listen to the Spotify playlist Listen to a collection of the great American poet's works.
- New York City PoetsListen to the Spotify playlist Listen to a some of the city's most revered poets recite from their works.
- SandhogsListen on 99percentinvisible.org Eighty years ago, New York City needed another tunnel under the Hudson River. The Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge could no longer handle the mounting traffic between New Jersey and Manhattan. Thus began construction of the Lincoln Tunnel. But this is not a story about the Lincoln Tunnel. This is about the men who made it. The Sandhogs.
- The Chelsea Piers and the Age of the Ocean LinerListen on boweryboyshistory.com The Chelsea Piers were once New York City’s portal to the world, a series of long docks along the west side of Manhattan that accommodated some of the most luxurious ocean liners of the early 20th century.
- The Sounds of USA: The BluesListen to the Spotify playlist Listen to a personal collection of America's quintessential blues tracks compiled by Trip Reads founder Jennifer Raezer. The perfect pre-trip soundtrack.
Just for Kids
- If You Come SoftlyView on Amazon Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. By Jacqueline Woodson.
- The Man Who Walked Between the TowersView on Amazon In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour walking, dancing, and performing high-wire tricks a quarter mile in the sky. This picture book captures the poetry and magic of the event. By Mordicai Gerstein
- This is New YorkView on Amazon Colorful illustrations guide a child through the streets of New York City. By Miroslav Sasek
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Alex RossFollow @alexrossmusic Music critic of The New Yorker, author of The Rest Is Noise and Listen to This, husband of the director of Gayby.
- Twitter: Discovering NYCFollow @discovering_NYC Writer, historian and #NYC tour guide connecting people with New York City history by curating interesting and engaging content!
- Twitter: Eater NYCFollow @EaterNY Get in NYC’s restaurant flow.
- Twitter: Eric AsimovFollow @EricAsimov Eat. Drink. Write. New York Times wine critic and author of "How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto'' (William Morrow) and "Wine With Food'' (Rizzoli).
- Twitter: GothamistFollow @Gothamist Gothamist is a website about New York City and everything that happens in it.
- Twitter: Lee RosenbaumFollow @culturegrrl Award-winning arts journalist, lecturer. NY Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, WNYC, HuffPost. CultureGrrl blog at ArtsJournal.com.
- Twitter: NY Times MetroFollow @NYTMetro Breaking news and headlines from the New York Times Metro desk, including the City Room blog, the daily New York report and the Sunday Metropolitan section.
- Twitter: NYC GoFollow @nycgo nycgo.com is the Official Guide to NYC. Follow us and we'll take you out on the town! #thisisnewyorkcity.
- Twitter: Paul GoldbergerFollow @paulgoldberger Architecture critic, educator, writer; author of Why Architecture Matters; Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair.