This is an extremely rare 1st edition depression-era NYC guidebook published as part of the American Guide Series, a Works ...
moreThis is an extremely rare 1st edition depression-era NYC guidebook published as part of the American Guide Series, a Works Progress Administration program for writers during the depression. 50 + guides were published for all the States and select cities.
It makes a great Christmas or Hanukah gift for New York enthusiasts.
Discover the New York City of yesteryear, when a room at the Plaza Hotel was $8, when a cab was 20 cents for the first mile and 5 cents thereafter, and when the subway (not yet the MTA!) was 5 cents, or 10 cents on the 5th Avenue line.
The book is an amazing snapshot of New York of the late 1930s, as well as an indispensable reference for the history of the city. Filled with snappy writing and long expositions on the history of New York, it makes a great collectible for anyone who loves the Big Apple. (My girlfriend and I have used this as a contemporary guidebook, to explore what neighborhoods used to look like.)
There are 35+ maps printed in the book, as well as a near-mint fold-out map in a pocket in the back, as well as dozens of pages of illustrations and old photographs. Excellent reference material on all five boroughs, including “Richmond” (as Staten Island used to be known.)
Discover New York when the West Side was filled with an “amazing variety of retail shops selling radios, pets, garden seeds, fireworks, sporting goods, shoes, textiles, and church supplies;” when the Lower East Side was “two square miles of tenements and crowded streets” that magnified “all the problems and conflicts of big-city life;” when Greenwich village was still “a symbol of revolt in the ferment of postwar years” (i.e. WWI, not WWII); when “Hell’s Kitchen” was still aptly named; when Times Square was a place to see “the world’s most beautiful girls;” when Union Square “belong[ed] to the working people of new York” and hawkers sold the Daily Worker and other radical newspapers; and when Murray hill recalled “baroque brownstone mansions, crinoline and lavender, hoop skirts and trailing gowns, hansom cabs and four-in-hands;”
At the time, the Empire State building was till the tallest in the world and Madison Square Gardens held communist rallies when 20,000 people attended.
So much more to discover! The book itself is in good condition. Unfortunately, the bottom of the dust jacket has torn apart.
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