Central Park: An Anthology by Andrew Blauner, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Central Park: An Anthology

Central Park: An Anthology

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by Andrew Blauner
     
 

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Central Park is perhaps the most well-trod and familiar green space in the county. It is both a refuge from the city and Manhattans very heart; a respite from the urban grind and a hive of activity all its own. 843 carefully planned acres allow some 37 million visitors each year to come and get lost in a sense of nature. Unsurprisingly, the park also inspires a wealth

Overview

Central Park is perhaps the most well-trod and familiar green space in the county. It is both a refuge from the city and Manhattans very heart; a respite from the urban grind and a hive of activity all its own. 843 carefully planned acres allow some 37 million visitors each year to come and get lost in a sense of nature. Unsurprisingly, the park also inspires a wealth of great writing, and here Andrew Blauner collects some of the finest fiction and nonfiction-- 20 pieces in all, with classics sprinkled among 13 new ones commissioned from great New York writers. Bill Buford spends a wild night in the park; Jonathan Safran Foer envisions it as a tiny, transplanted piece of a mythical Sixth Borough; and Marie Winn answers definitively Holden Caulfields question of where the ducks go when the parks ponds freeze over. There are bird sightings and fish sightings; Jackie Kennedy and James Brown sightings; and pieces by Colson Whitehead, Paul Auster, and Francine Prose. This vibrant collection presents Central Park, in all its many-faceted glory, a 51-block swath of special magic.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"In a city where people can live sixty-three thousand to a square mile," Central Park is an escape, adventure, meditation, memory, and amusement, and this anthology, comprising the work of some of New York's literary luminaries, is a charming 21-essay tribute to what "is probably the most closely watched and monitored 843 acres on Earth." Marie Winn pens a funny letter to Holden Caulfield about what happens to the park's ducks in winter; Bill Buford tries sleeping there one night; and Nathaniel Rich gives the sentimental history of an annual Thanksgiving touch-football game (the "Turkey-Lurkey Bowl"). Others—Susan Cheever, Colson Whitehead, Adam Gopnik, and Paul Auster among them—fish for carp, run past Jackie Kennedy, befriend goats at the zoo, and explore the place "where nature is so beautifully and spectacularly kept on a leash." But it wasn't always so: the masterpiece of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux was, at times, a "municipal embarrassment," the site of muggings, murders, and—rumor had it—"a nightmarish water fountain that dribbled raw sewage into the mouths of toddlers." It's clear, by the collection's range, that there must be at least as many Central Parks as there are annual visitors—and that's close to 40 million. (May)
From the Publisher

“A delectable collection! Central Park turns out to be more than trees and grass and paths; rather, a touchstone of Memory and Imagination.” —Cynthia Ozick

“[A] sprightly new collection… Central Park is now a dazzling reincarnation of the Edenic landscape Olmsted and Vaux envisioned more than a century and a half ago. No matter how much the park has changed… it radiates for many of the writers here a sense of timelessness and constancy: It remains a kind of memory portal to the past, a Proustian time machine.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“I loved this book. Central Park is a very special place for all of us who have lived in NYC for any length of time, or who grew up here--anyone who considers NYC their spiritual if not physical home.” —Roz Chast

“To read these reminiscences is to be struck by the role of the park not just as a compensatory blast of nature, quiet, calm and oxygen in a city with too little of all them, but also as a jointly savored event, a common currency, something possessed by everyone but owned by no one.” —Frank Bruni, NYTimes.com

“Reading these wonderful short essays will ignite the hot season within your head, no matter what the weather's like outside.” —The Daily Beast

“All of the contributions, from humorous to deeply moving, are worth reading, with descriptions and insights that will be treasured by anyone intrigued by Central Park, no matter their own familiarity. This volume gives readers a sense of why the park engenders such deep emotions and wonderment in those who enjoy it.” —Library Journal

“As varied and inviting as its namesake. Take it to the nearest spot of green, spread a blanket, and enjoy.” —Barnes & Noble Review

Library Journal
Blauner (Blauner Books Literary Agency; editor, Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference) has assembled a collection of 12 new and seven reprinted pieces that explore Central Park in many of its aspects. Here are the Central Park Zoo, amateur football near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, live concerts, an assortment of wildlife, the park at night, and many other evocative scenes. Many of the pieces amount to short personal essays by prominent writers who share their particular memories. A reprinted piece by Jonathan Safran Foer and a new piece by Brooks Hansen are fictional. All of the contributions, from humorous to deeply moving, are worth reading, with descriptions and insights that will be treasured by anyone intrigued by Central Park, no matter their own familiarity. VERDICT Most Central Park books are histories or guidebooks; this volume gives readers a sense of why the park engenders such deep emotions and wonderment in those who enjoy it. Recommended.—Morris Hounion, NYC Technical Coll. Lib, CUNY, Brooklyn
Kirkus Reviews
A leisurely stroll through the park with some agreeably literary companionship. Though each of the pieces focuses on Central Park, editor and literary agent Blauner (editor: Brothers, 2009, etc.) observes of the millions who consider this their favorite spot in New York, "Ask what all of those people love most about Central Park, and you will almost never get two alike answers. Such is the vastness, the diversity, the wonder of this place that plays so many different roles to so many different kinds of people." Much is made in the selections of the diversity of people drawn to the park, but the voices selected for inclusion make it read something like a special issue of the New Yorker (which has published many of these writers). More than a third of the pieces were previously published, including an excerpt from a novel by Paul Auster, a fable about "The Sixth Borough" by Jonathan Safran Foer, a letter from Wall Street Journal columnist Marie Winn to Holden Caulfield and the title essay from Colson Whitehead's The Colossus of New York. As the writing ranges over decades as well as acres, many of the writers see the park as a microcosm of the city. Adam Gopnik notes, "There is always a new New York coming into being as the old one disappears." Safran Foer: "It's hard for anyone, even the most cynical of cynics, to spend more than a few minutes in Central Park without feeling that he or she is experiencing some tense in addition to the present." There are repeated references to the zoo, to Jackie Onassis jogging, various sports and the occasional mugging, but there are also celebrations of the park as a cultural hub as well as a natural resource. One of the most incisive observations is secondhand, by Andy Warhol as conveyed by Susan Cheever: "It was better to live in the city than the country because in the city he could find a little bit of country, but in the country there was no little bit of city." A good anthology for an afternoon's reading in the park.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608197422
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Andrew Blauner is the founder of Blauner Books Literary Agency and the editor of two previous anthologies, Coach and Brothers.


Andrew Blauner is the founder of Blauner Books Literary Agency and the editor of two previous anthologies, Coach and Brothers.

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