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From Broadway and Wall Street to the farthest reaches of New York's fabled subway system, and with numerous stops in between, this publication celebrates the occupational skills, crafts, knowledge, and traditions that have made New York legendary. Based on extensive interviews undertaken by Smithsonian Institution folklorists and researchers to document urban culture in the five boroughs at the turn of the millennium, Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway introduces readers to a remarkable cast of artisans, ...
From Broadway and Wall Street to the farthest reaches of New York's fabled subway system, and with numerous stops in between, this publication celebrates the occupational skills, crafts, knowledge, and traditions that have made New York legendary. Based on extensive interviews undertaken by Smithsonian Institution folklorists and researchers to document urban culture in the five boroughs at the turn of the millennium, Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway introduces readers to a remarkable cast of artisans, workers, laborers, and artists - talented individuals whose jobs create, maintain, and nurture the very heart of Gotham.
The book profiles workers from a wide variety of social and ethnic backgrounds, men and women who are eloquent in recounting their own stories, knowledgeable in relating the history of their beloved city, and avid about explaining the skills and challenges involved in practicing their chosen occupations. Their wisdom, humor, and humanity reflect the best of New York.
Profiling those who craft the artistry of Broadway, pilot NYC subway trains, construct the city's ubiquitous water towers, plaster Manhattan walls with graffiti, and more, this compendium of big city trade from Library of Congress "folklike specialist" Groce is packed with the fascinating testimony of cityfolk who honestly love what they do. The process of making a wig for a Broadway show, detailed by designer Linda Rice, involves thousands of individual hairs hand-tied to mesh, taking some 15 hours to complete and a minimum of $1,200. The graffiti industry is well-considered some three decades after it emerged as a cultural force, and the everyday frustrations of riding the MTA's subway system are put into startling perspective: "Approximately 70 percent of Americans who ride mass transit each day do so in New York City." Groce also demystifies Wall Street with the help of traders and others, and serves up everything there is to know about Bagels and Bialys on Coney Island: the third-generation owner of Russ and Daughters says that the present-day variety of shmears (like tofu cream cheese) and fish ("I have ten different kinds of smoked salmon") would make grandfather roll over in his grave. A grand undertaking, Groce's volume makes an absorbing document of "local culture in the global city."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Introduction - Unique New York: Local Culture in the Global City
1. Urban Folklore/Occupational Folklore: A Theoretical Street Map
2. Backstage Broadway
3. Urban Profile - Tats Cru: Graffiti Artists and the Urban Canvas
4. Urban Profile - Local 28: "The Tin Knockers"
5. The Sixth Borough: New York and the Subway
6. Urban Profile - The 86th Street Crosstown Bus: Take a Seat, the Show Is Starting
7. Urban Profile - Rosenwach: The Water Tower Builders
8. Urban Profile - Russ & Daughters: Lower East Side Appetizing Dynasty
9. Urban Profile - Coney Island Bagels and Bialys
10. The Cultures of Street Wall
Appendix - New York City Project: Guide to Recorded, Interviews Interview Tape Log - Field Interviews, and Interview Tape Log - Festival Interviews
Posted April 7, 2010
I really enjoyed reading Nancy Groce's book on the trades of NY and found the photos and fist hand accounts entertaining and very enjoyable. Even if you don't know much about NY city or it's history, you will find the stories and content of this good fun! If you're looking for a great non-fiction read, look no further!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.