The Encyclopedia of New York City

Overview

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the nation's most fascinating city is now available in this authoritative and entertaining one-volume encyclopedia. The only comprehensive reference work on New York City ever compiled, it covers subjects throughout the five boroughs from prehistory to the present. The encyclopedia contains more than 4300 alphabetically arranged entries by more than 650 contributors, along with nearly 700 illustrations and maps, many of which are previously unpublished. A wide range of ...
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Overview

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the nation's most fascinating city is now available in this authoritative and entertaining one-volume encyclopedia. The only comprehensive reference work on New York City ever compiled, it covers subjects throughout the five boroughs from prehistory to the present. The encyclopedia contains more than 4300 alphabetically arranged entries by more than 650 contributors, along with nearly 700 illustrations and maps, many of which are previously unpublished. A wide range of topics is covered: architecture, government and politics, business, religion, weather, the arts, education, transport, the law, science and medicine, and sports and recreation. Entries reflect the city's colorful past and present, describing hundreds of neighborhoods and immigrant groups as well as more than a thousand figures from all fields and historical periods. The encyclopedia displays the richness and diversity of New York City as they have never before been documented. Overseen by an editorial board composed of distinguished scholars and experts and edited by one of the leading urban historians in the nation, it is an indispensable resource for residents and visitors alike.

The only comprehensive reference work on New York City ever compiled, this entertaining and authoritative one-volume encyclopedia covers subjects throughout the five boroughs from prehistory to the present. It includes more than 4,000 entries by more than 650 contributors, along with 680 illustrations and maps, some drawn especially for this book.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This informative, entertaining, and exhaustive volume covers Gotham from A to Z. It contains more than 4,000 entries by more than 650 contributors, many of whom are recognized authorities on their subjects. You'll pick up The Encyclopedia of New York City to learn a bit about, say, Yankee Stadium only to find yourself perusing an essay on Coney Island, a brief bio of the "Little Flower," Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, or an overview of the immigrant communities that have made their new homes on Manhattan's Lower East Side. This is that all too rare educational resource that is difficult to put down.
New York Times
. . . [W]ave goodbye to family and friends. You'll be so seduced...you may not be seeing them for a while.
Library Journal
How can you review a book when all you want to do is look up just one more item, check out just one more fact, and answer just one more question? This compendium, 13 years in the making, is the first work ever to try to encompass the wonder that is New York City and does so with remarkable success. Edited by academic Jackson (history, Columbia Univ.), it supplies information on people, places, events, and experiences, from prehistory to today, along with illustrations and maps, charts, and tables. Thus, this reviewer could find the Brooklyn public high school she attended; the Manhattan private schools to which she sent her children; a description of alternate side parking (a particularly New York phenomenon); the inception of one-way traffic; the New York Giants, baseball and football teams; Frank Costello and Philip Roth; the Lambs Club and the egg cream. A dictionary arrangement with uppercase cross references makes it simple to use, the editorial board of outstanding scholars makes it reliable, and the subject makes it irresistible. A reference work for all natives, visitors, or the simply curious; for all collections in the metropolitan area and for every major collection elsewhere. A word of caution: this book can be addicting. Highly recommended.Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York
Zom Zoms
The premier metropolis and cultural capital of the U.S. now has its own encyclopedia. More than a decade in the making, this collaborative effort between Yale University Press and the New York Historical Society has been edited by the distinguished urban historian Kenneth T. Jackson, chair of the history department at Columbia University. It contains more than 4,000 entries by more than 650 contributors, many of whom are recognized authorities on their subjects e.g., Martin Marty on religion, Arnold Rampersad on the Harlem Renaissance, Marion R. Casey on the Irish, Sean Wilentz on labor, Phyllis Dain on libraries, and George Chauncey on gays. The five boroughs, more than 400 neighborhoods, and various ethnic and religious groups each get individual articles. In the case of restaurants, magazines, buildings, or business firms, the choice of subjects is highly selective. The people covered were chosen on the basis of important connections with the city; the entry on Thomas Jefferson focuses on the six months he spent there in 1790 Longer articles a page or more cover such subjects as the alternative press, saloons, histories of the city, slavery, theater, architecture, science, communism, and cosmetics. In addition to an article on public health are ones on occupational health, developmental disabilities, and mental health. There are biographies for Captain Kidd, William Kunstler, and Donna Karan but not Claude McKay, Meyer Berger, or B. H. Haggin and for Ruth, Gehrig, and Jackie Robinson but not DiMaggio, Mantle, or Mays. Items of "New Yorkiana" get their entries: automats, bagels and egg creams, cockroaches, and graffiti. A number of tables and lists bring elusive information conveniently together: daily newspapers, English and foreign-language; changes to the city charter; presidential election returns for the city and boroughs; and ticker-tape parades While some original material has been contributed, the intent is to summarize current scholarship; many "articles conclude with brief bibliographies, arranged by date of publication. The encyclopedia is beautifully illustrated with expertly selected black-and-white photographs and maps. At the back are a section of notes on contributors and a name index listing persons not having an individual entry. One can therefore find Sidney Biddle Barrows but not a topic like "decentralization," which is covered in the entry "Public Schools". It is difficult to think of topics that should have had an entry proportional representation in city elections? Jesuits?, and even typographical slips are rare the restaurant critic appears as Seymour "Britchkey" This encyclopedia is an outstanding and long-needed contribution to reference publishing. Not just of local interest, it will be an indispensable resource wherever there is curiosity about the history, culture, and diverse life of our nation's greatest city.
New
It has 1,350 pages, covers more than 4,000 topics and is a bargain even if you have to pay retail.
William Grimes
Comprehensive...No one with even a passing interest in New York will be able to live without it.

New York Times Book Review

Time Out New York
Giving any New York buff this long-awaited authoritative tome is like giving them the city itself.
Library Journal
This beloved work, revised and expanded from the 1995 original, amasses the collective knowledge on New York City into a volume small enough to pick up and hold and large enough to satisfy the scholars, students, and enthusiasts native to New York or just passing through. Approximately 800 new entries and thousands of updated entries (about 100 were discarded) describe and contextualize the people, places, events, and phenomena that tell the story of New York City. Look up every half-remembered anecdote about the city's past, from Manhattan's abandoned pneumatic subway to the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum, or browse the entries on the writers, politicians, athletes, artists, musicians, and scientists who have helped shape the city's character. Charts and maps cull data from the census and various New York institutions as well as present the city's particularities—find historical ferry routes, a flow chart of elevated railway takeovers, and a list of free summer productions of Shakespeare in the Park. Each detail pinpoints a specific moment in New York's evolution, and the new edition of this encyclopedia describes a city that has most decidedly evolved since 1995, with new entries on September 11, E-ZPass, 311, Atlantic Yards, Citi Field, and Eliot Spitzer, among others. The dictionary format with cross-references and a well-crafted index remains easy to use, and the fantastic editorial and advisory board led by Jackson (Jacques Barzun Professor of History, Columbia Univ.) lends the volume authority. Articles are signed and sometimes include one or two suggested readings, although the encyclopedia's strength as a point of discovery makes this reviewer wish for more from this feature. BOTTOM LINE Highly recommended for metropolitan collections and academic libraries, this encyclopedia is also a page-turner, and how many reference works can you say that about?—Brooke Watkins, NYPL
AP

"The second edition is a window into how much New York City has changed in recent years."—Deepti Hajela, AP

— Deepti Hajela

New York Post

"A splendid encyclopedia."—Julia Vitullo-Martin, New York Post

— Julia Vitullo-Martin

Wall Street Journal

"This updated edition of the Encyclopedia, first published 15 years ago, is more than simply a 1,561-page crib book for trivia addicts. It''s a heroic compendium of the achievements and follies of the millions of strivers who''ve toiled in New York since Peter Minuit bought the island that the Indians called manahactanienk—meaning, appropriately enough, ''place of inebriation''—in 1626. . . . If data about the city can be ranked, ranked it is here. . . . The Encyclopedia of New York City is an engrossing book of marvels, as monumental in its way as its wondrous subject."—Edward Kosner, Wall Street Journal

— Edward Kosner

Bill Moyers
“Don’t live in New York City without it, visit New York without it, or even think about New York City without it. This endless cornucopia of fresh and fascinating information is essential and exhilarating. Native or itinerant, scholar or sightseer, you will relish it. The Big Apple will never taste the same once you’ve feasted here. Ken Jackson has made a monumental contribution to the endless story of the brash, beguiling, and bewildering city that has shaped America’s imagination and destiny.”—Bill Moyers
Ric Burns
“There are a few absolutely indispensable books about New York City. Ken Jackson’s monumental Encyclopedia of New York City is one of them. This new, extensively revised edition—after fifteen of the most tumultuous and transformative years in the city’s history—is a cause for celebration and gratitude.”—Ric Burns, documentary filmmaker
Mike Wallace
"Indispensable! I'd sleep with it under my pillow if it fit!"—Mike Wallace, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
AP - Deepti Hajela
"The second edition is a window into how much New York City has changed in recent years."—Deepti Hajela, AP
New York Post - Julia Vitullo-Martin
"A splendid encyclopedia."—Julia Vitullo-Martin, New York Post
Wall Street Journal - Edward Kosner
"This updated edition of the Encyclopedia, first published 15 years ago, is more than simply a 1,561-page crib book for trivia addicts. It's a heroic compendium of the achievements and follies of the millions of strivers who've toiled in New York since Peter Minuit bought the island that the Indians called manahactanienk—meaning, appropriately enough, 'place of inebriation'—in 1626. . . . If data about the city can be ranked, ranked it is here. . . . The Encyclopedia of New York City is an engrossing book of marvels, as monumental in its way as its wondrous subject."—Edward Kosner, Wall Street Journal
The Bloomsbury Review - Lori D. Kranz
". . . [a] wonder of a reference book."—Lori D. Kranz, The Bloomsbury Review
Choice - B. Juhl
"Highly recommended."—B. Juhl, Choice
Choice - Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Reference/Social and Behavioral Sciences category.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300055368
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/26/1995
  • Pages: 1392
  • Product dimensions: 8.92 (w) x 11.12 (h) x 2.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth T. Jackson is the Jacques Barzun Professor of History at Columbia University, where he has chaired the Department of History.  The author of the prize-winning Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States, he has taught New York City history for four decades. He is  general editor of the Columbia History of Urban Life and a former  president of the Urban History Association, the Society of American  Historians, the Organization of American Historians, and the  New-York Historical Society.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2005

    One of a kind

    This book is a one of a kind, like New York is. This book is a six star.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2002

    An Essential

    Whether you are a New York City newcomer, visiter, student, or long time resident, this book is essential. Though it is, naturally, quite heavy in weight, it is a fabulous edition to your bookshelf (or perhaps even coffee table). Its only fault was lack of maps- there was one map of Manhattan (and two detailing Greenwich and Lower Manhattan), one of Brooklyn, one of the Bronx, and none of the other boroughs, an unfortunate inadequacy, because at the time of purchase, I was in desperate need of a detailed map of Brooklyn.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2001

    A Must for Lovers and Students of New York City

    If you are a student of New York City or among the millions who love it, Kenneth Jackson's mammoth Encyclopedia is indispensible. I began using it as a reference book for something I was writing. Before I knew it, I was reading it from cover to cover. What a ride! What an achievement! While loaded with gorgeous illustrations, this is no coffee table book. This is a fact-filled guide to assist the serious student and amorous admirer through the intricacies of the greatest city on Earth. The enormous effort that went into this book will be gratefully acknowledged by anyone who reads it.

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