Crossing the Blvd: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America

Crossing the Blvd: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America

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by Warren Lehrer, Judith Sloan
     
 

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A kaleidoscopic view of new immigrants and refugees living in Queens, New York the most ethnically diverse locality in the United States.
For three years, Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan traveled the world by trekking the streets of their home borough. This book documents the people they encountered along the way. First person narratives are illuminated by… See more details below

Overview

A kaleidoscopic view of new immigrants and refugees living in Queens, New York the most ethnically diverse locality in the United States.
For three years, Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan traveled the world by trekking the streets of their home borough. This book documents the people they encountered along the way. First person narratives are illuminated by strikingly direct photographic portraits of the subjects alongside the objects of their worlds. Lehrer's postmodern, Talmudic design juxtaposes the multiple perspectives of these new Americans, now thrown together as neighbors, classmates, coworkers, enemies, and friends. They reflect on the good, the ugly and the unexpected in their stories of crossing oceans, borders, wars, economic hardship, and cultural divides. These soulful narratives are put in context by the authors' personal and historical observations. The voices, images and sounds collected here form a portrait of a paradoxical and ever-shifting America.

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Editorial Reviews

Debbie Nathan - City Limits
“This stunningly innovative book goes beyond pathos, into the kaleidoscope of experience that defines real immigrant life.”
Dean Ulsher
“One of the most important stories in New York..the authors know immigrants as individuals. That's the way it should be.”
Ron Daniels
“Fascinating.... this extraordinary volume...provides a glimpse of the new America which is emerging.”
Archivist Roundtable of New York: Winner
“Explodes the paradigms of oral history and reinterpreti[s] them for our multimedia century...”
John Kuo Wei Tchen
“Brings alive the most polyglot place on the planet....An outstanding book on the new New York!”
Dave Isay
“Brims over with the energy, heart and spirit that went into creating this important work.”
Eve Ensler
“Boldly carries the tradition of oral history into the 21st Century. An electrifying collage of voices, faces, and spirits.”
Faith Middleton - Faith Middleton Show
“One of the best books ever! Thank you for telling these stories.”
Marco Werman - The World
“An incredible, moving story...Oral history with a twist.”
Michael Krasny - Forum
“A fascinating book....Filled with vivid descriptions and very human, powerful, poignant stories.”
Publishers Weekly
New York's undersung borough of Queens, home to the new Ellis Island (the city's airports), may be the most diverse county in the country today, and documentarians Lehrer and Sloan have innovatively brought it to life. First-person narratives that sometimes intertwine several voices (some were broadcast on the public radio program The Next Big Thing) are matched by a bold and colorful layout: large portraits, long-view landscapes, multiple typefaces (sometimes within the same paragraph) and inset graphics or asides. The stories are grouped in five lower-case sections: "contemporary pilgrims," "asylum seekers," "family ties," "neighborhood tales" and "unlikely coexistences" (Ping-Pong players, a high school, a punk-gypsy cabaret band). The language can be poetic; a Congolese asylum-seeker declares, "Wackenhut is a for-profit business they are making from the sorrow of detainees." Two Egyptian restaurateurs, brothers, lament gentrification: "You really killed yourself with the atmosphere you created." A Russian migr expresses disbelief that a call to 911 would actually bring the cops. Some interviewees express melancholy about their move, but they generally agree-an old American story-that opportunities are better for their kids. An accompanying CD (sold separately if you buy the paperback) includes interview excerpts as well as music by the authors and some of their subjects. While some of the texture of Queens is sacrificed-you wouldn't know the library system is the busiest in the country-this book remains an arresting, vividly printed mosaic. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In the wake of 9/11, four youths smash up an Egyptian coffee shop. The police react swiftly, but the owner refuses to press charges-and the youths return that night to apologize, clean up, and talk. A Congolese hydraulic engineer and refugee endures two years in a windowless INS detention center without explanation or charge. This volume collects the searing first-person stories of these and 72 other Queens residents, recent immigrants from everywhere. Eponymous Queens Boulevard, 12 hazardous lanes intersecting this most ethnically diverse spot in the United States, emblematizes the perils faced back home and in America and the convergence of countless cultures. Each profile is a collage of text and image, and the pages of this book frequently incorporate two or three narratives plus notes and bold photographs of the participants, their streetscapes, and iconic artifacts. The effect is dazzling but organic and appropriate; documentary artists Lehrer and Sloan have produced a collective oral history as vibrant as a live event. A companion audio CD, which comes with the cloth edition or can be purchased separately (ISBN 0-393-10588-1. $15), samples the voices and music of participants in experimental fashion. Strongly recommended for public and academic collections.-Janet Ingraham Dwyer, Worthington P.L., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393324662
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/04/2003
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
689,937
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.00(d)

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