Only in New York: An Exploration of the World's Most Fascinating, Frustrating and Irrepressible City [NOOK Book]

Overview

No one denies that New York City is unique—but what makes it sui generis? Sam Roberts, longtime city reporter, has puzzled over this in print and in his popular New York Times podcasts for years. In Only in New York, he writes about what makes New York tick and why things are the way they are in the greatest of all cities on earth. The forty essays in this book cover a variety of topics, including:
• Why do we...

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Only in New York: An Exploration of the World's Most Fascinating, Frustrating and Irrepressible City

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Overview

No one denies that New York City is unique—but what makes it sui generis? Sam Roberts, longtime city reporter, has puzzled over this in print and in his popular New York Times podcasts for years. In Only in New York, he writes about what makes New York tick and why things are the way they are in the greatest of all cities on earth. The forty essays in this book cover a variety of topics, including:
• Why do we have doormen?
• Is it noisier in the city or in the country?
• Are New Yorkers really as liberal as the rest of the country thinks they are?
• Why wasn’t Manhattan’s cross-town street grid oriented by the points of the compass?
• If a neighborhood loses its tony zipcode, does it lose its cachet?
A winning and informative gift book for every fan of “the city”, Only in New York is elegantly written and solidly reported.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A staple among readers of the New York Times, urban affairs correspondent Roberts collects 40 of his podcasts for the Times Web site—savvy snapshots of the city that prides itself on its restless energy. Roberts (Who We Are Now) pens snappy glimpses of its personalities, trends, events and general mayhem, including topics such as the gender gap and “eligible men,” fat New Yorkers, the New York City pooper-scooper law, gangster Nicky “Mr. Untouchable” Barnes, and the terror and fear of the 9/11 tragedy. His writing really crackles when he sinks his teeth into the antics of some of those who put their stamp on the city, such as writers Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin in their 1969 madcap political race, Mayor Bloomberg's deep pockets for wooing voters or President Obama's early student days of roughing it in Manhattan. Street-smart, informative and occasionally hilarious, Roberts's new book is New York City as it is and always has been. 20 b&w line drawings. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"A staple among readers of the New York Times, urban affairs correspondent Roberts collects 40 of his podcasts for the Times Web site—savvy snapshots of the city that prides itself on its restless energy. Roberts (Who We Are Now) pens snappy glimpses of its personalities, trends, events and general mayhem, including topics such as the gender gap and “eligible men,” fat New Yorkers, the New York City pooper-scooper law, gangster Nicky “Mr. Untouchable” Barnes, and the terror and fear of the 9/11 tragedy. His writing really crackles when he sinks his teeth into the antics of some of those who put their stamp on the city, such as writers Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin in their 1969 madcap political race, Mayor Bloomberg's deep pockets for wooing voters or President Obama's early student days of roughing it in Manhattan. Street-smart, informative and occasionally hilarious, Roberts's new book is New York City as it is and always has been."—Publishers Weekly

"Currently the Urban Affairs reporter for The New York Times, Roberts has covered the city for 40 years. So as we locals say, he knows from, and it shows in this fabulous collection of essays. With wit and grace, he tells stories of its citizens — some illustrious, others not; some living, others long dead. But the story he's really telling is that of New York, and he nails it."—New York Daily News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429984218
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 722,560
  • File size: 283 KB

Meet the Author

SAM ROBERTS is the Urban Affairs Correspondent for The New York Times. He was formerly city editor for The New York Daily News. His reporting has won prizes, including awards from the Newspaper Guild of New York and the Peter Kihss Award for the City of New York. He’s written three books, including Who We Are Now, and The Brother, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His magazine articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, New York Magazine, and Empire State Report. He lives— where else?—in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt


THE BIGGEST APPLE The Census Bureau announced recently that no American city is home to more Hawaiian and Pacific Islander–owned busi­nesses—2,400 of them—than . . . Honolulu. Well, big surprise. But what surprised me was which city is second: New York, with more than 2,300.
With about 8.2 million people in all, New York is a city of super­latives. But just how big is it?
Well, New York has more Latinos than any other city, twice as many Asians as Los Angeles, twice as many blacks as Chicago. More American Indians live here than in any other city.
It’s so big that more people speak Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Chinese, Japa nese, Yiddish . . . and English. It’s home to more who identify their heritage as Italian, German, Scottish, Nigerian, or Swiss than any other American city. More who claim Irish ancestry than any city in the world—including Dublin.
More people born in Pakistan, France, Greece, Israel, Lebanon,
Ghana, New Zealand, the Dominican Republic, and almost every other country (except, pretty much, for Cuba and Mexico) live in New York than in any other city in the country.
New York even ranks fi rst in the number of people who describe themselves as having been born at sea (including some who still seem to be at sea).
The city also has more lawyers, doctors, teachers, security guards, construction workers, fi refi ghters, railway workers, and more people who work in arts and entertainment and more people employed in manufacturing.
It doesn’t lead in agriculture, although it ranks a pretty respect­able tenth nationwide among cities whose residents say their occupa­tion is farming, fishing, or forestry.
New York has more students enrolled in every grade, from kinder­garten through graduate school; more who have not graduated from high school and more with doctoral degrees.
The city also ranks first with more people in every age group (in­cluding 121,000 who are age eighty-five and older).
New York has more people than any other American city who don’t own a car, more who car-pool to work or take public transporta­tion, including taxis and ferries, more who ride their bicycles or walk to work, and more who work at home. San Francisco edges New York, though, in the number who say they commute by motorcycle.
More New Yorkers live in jails, nursing homes, college dorms, mental wards, and religious quarters—like convents—than in any other city.
Now, of course, a few of those numbers might be statistical anom­alies, especially since the census relies largely on self- identifi cation. For example, there are undoubtedly a lot of American Indians in
New York, but the total might, in fact, be inflated by some Asian Indians who also consider themselves American and described themselves that way—incorrectly by the government’s defi nition— on the census forms.
In the late nineteenth century, some New Yorkers had the elitist notion that only four hundred people in the city really counted. The author O’Henry credited “a wiser man”—the census taker—with what he called a “larger estimate of human interest.” O. Henry memorial­ized them in fiction as “The Four Million.”
Enormous as New York must have seemed then, his four million of a century ago have doubled.
New York has more than twice as many people as the nation’s second biggest city, Los Angeles. New York is home to more people than the next four top-ranked cities in population—Chicago, Hous­ton, Philadelphia, and Phoenix—combined.
No group categorized by ancestry or age or birthplace abroad or occupation or degree of education dominates, because, as Theodore Dreiser once wrote, New York “is so preponderantly large.”
In every category, each separate New York superlative is sub­sumed by the biggest superlative of them all: the Eight Million.
—June 27, 2006
Excerpted from Only in New York by Sam Roberts.
Copyright © 2009 by Sam Roberts.
Published in November 2009 by St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproductionis strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
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