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A History of New York in 27 Buildings

The 400-Year Untold Story of an American Metropolis

Sam Roberts

Bloomsbury Publishing

A History of New York in 27 Buildings Download image

ISBN10: 1620409801
ISBN13: 9781620409800


304 Pages



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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.


Praise for A History of New York in 27 Buildings

"Dynamism beyond conventional wisdom and guidebooks."National Book Review

"A nuanced, richly researched book that delves deep into the history of the city and speaks volumes about its past, present and future . . . a must-read as the metropolis, now almost 400 years old, continues to (re)shape itself and the world."—

"Fun facts abound in A History of New York in 27 Buildings . . . An enjoyable portrait of New York as embodied in 27 key landmarks of its built environment."Newsday

“[Roberts] offers a solid education in New York architecture that pays close attention to the personalities, politics, economics, and natural disasters that inevitably accompany it . . . An entertaining picture of New York through the centuries.”Kirkus Reviews

"Roberts’s wide-ranging historical research and storytelling skills should captivate New Yorkers and others."Library Journal

“[Roberts is] 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.”Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Sam Roberts

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.

Michael J. Roberts

Sam Roberts