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The New YorkerWhat news from New York?" F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in an imaginary conversation in "My Lost City," a 1936 essay. " 'Stocks go up. A baby murdered a gangster.' 'Nothing more?' " The city, in all its confounding glory, is the subject of Kenneth T. Jackson and David S. Dunbar's anthology, Empire City, which begins with an account of Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage, includes Frederick Law Olmsted's original plan for Central Park, and recounts such forgotten chapters as the 1909 strike of twenty thousand female garment workers.
The influx of immigrants to the city changed everything. The Historic Shops and Restaurants of New York, a guide by Ellen Williams and Steve Radlauer, looks at business brainstorms from a century ago. At the end of the nineteenth century, two hairdressers agreed to spruce up the tresses of porcelain beauties with push-broom lashes and rose paint smiles, and soon so much of their business consisted of these miniature makeovers that, in 1900, they renamed their establishment the Doll Hospital.
The city has always had a knack for improvisation. It Happened on Washington Square, Emily Kies Folpe's social history of the Greenwich Village park -- once a potter's field -- explains that the square's Washington Arch was a temporary innovation that persisted: the original, conceived by the architect Stanford White as a parade decoration in 1889, was made of white-painted pine and papier-mâché and was popular enough to soon be replaced by a stone version.(Lauren Porcaro)