New York: City of Islands

Overview

The islands that form New York City are far more subtle and varied than the five that can be seen from the air. In this spectacular portrait of the great metropolis, renowned photographer Jake Rajs juxtaposes iconic views—the Empire State Building, the Hudson River skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge—with unheralded neighborhoods and hidden places throughout the five boroughs.

Pete Hamill's literary portrait perfectly complements Rajs's visual presentation. This lively and compelling ...

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Overview

The islands that form New York City are far more subtle and varied than the five that can be seen from the air. In this spectacular portrait of the great metropolis, renowned photographer Jake Rajs juxtaposes iconic views—the Empire State Building, the Hudson River skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge—with unheralded neighborhoods and hidden places throughout the five boroughs.

Pete Hamill's literary portrait perfectly complements Rajs's visual presentation. This lively and compelling view traces the history of the city from its beginnings as an Indian hunting and fishing ground to the early years of settlement by immigrants from all corners of the world to the numerous and overlapping islands that now make up the city as a whole.

First published in a deluxe edition in 1998, this unique presentation is now available to all who are eager to explore the city that fascinates the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Jake Rajs's affection for New York City is readily apparent on every page of this photographic celebration of the city's diverse glories. His memorable images are so joyous and vibrantly colored as to make even the most jaded New Yorker remember why he or she fell in love with the city in the first place, and Pete Hamill's fond but hard-nosed essay tracing Gotham's triumphs, trials, and tribulations is the perfect companion piece to Rajs's vivid images.
Library Journal
Destined to land close to each other in a library collection, these two books are so different they might be describing two worlds, not one city. Rajs shoots his New York as if he were on an assignment for National Geographic. His city is rich in polychrome power. It is so lovingly composed that to a native New Yorker, it looks like somewhere else. The dazzle that Rajs captures is not in daily routine but in the wonder of photography that builds glory through mastery of the medium by aiming at places, moments, and urban majesty. Hamill provides a fine opening essay that is long on history, careful about nostalgia, and realistic about the ups and downs of New York City. No glistening monument to human industry, Hart Island in New York Harbor has supported a cemetery, a charity hospital for women, an insane asylum, a jail, and now a cemetery again. Artists Hund and Sternfeld show it to be a secret place--a small island full of common graves, long trenches filled with pine boxes of forgotten dead--and in the process throw a meteor at people who think they know New York. Their photographs are generally brown and gray, visions of a lonely place in a lonely winter. The labor pool for the death detail is a cadre of prisoners from the city's jail at Riker's Island. These tough urban men seem softened by their work, by the finalization their digging brings to lives that never really got started. No single part of this book seems masterly--not Hunt's introductory essay, not the straightforward photographs under heavy clouds, not the images of crudely marked coffins large and small. But as a carefully collected volume, it is a moving and memorable portrayal of a secret place crammed with anonymous New Yorkers. Both books are recommended.--David Bryant, New Canaan P.L., CT
Booknews
Photographer Rajs' dramatic compositions of iconic vistas as well as unseen and unheralded images of this great urban setting are complemented by an essay by Pete Hammill on New York's history. The photographs are divided into four sections that show busy urban streets and avenues and activities along them, parks and places of leisure, sculpted steel bridges, skyscrapers of midtown and downtown Manhattan, and the island geography (Staten Island, Coney Island, and Rockaway beach). Contains about 200 color photographs. 8.5x13<"> Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580931830
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2007
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 9.05 (w) x 7.05 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete  Hamill
Jake Rajs has traveled across America and throughout the world, capturing the image and spirit of place. His work is widely published and his books include the highly acclaimed America, The Hudson River, and Between Sea and Sky: Landscapes of Long Island's North Fork.

Pete Hamill is a novelist, journalist, editor, and screenwriter. He has served as editor-in-chief of both the New York Post and the New York Daily News. He has published eight novels, including the best-selling Snow in August, as well as the memoir A Drinking Life.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York, and Cuernavaca, Mexico
    1. Date of Birth:
      1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      Mexico City College, 1956-1957; Pratt Institute
    2. Website:

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