cover image New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time

New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time

Craig Taylor. Norton, $30 (416p) ISBN 978-0-393-24232-4

Journalist Taylor follows Londoners with an engrossing, multihued “oral portrait” of New York City as told by the people who live there. In conversations recorded from 2014 to 2020, 75 New Yorkers touch on themes both familiar and fresh. A blind singer who regularly walks with his seeing-eye dog from upper to lower Manhattan remembers when Times Square used to smell like “sex, groin, and hair and underarm.” A nanny riffs on the trendy baby names (Whistler, Atlas) and children’s activities (ukulele lessons) chosen by wealthy parents: “the threat of normalcy is so terrifying for them.” Others recommend where to go for the best bagels (Absolute Bagels on 108th Street and Broadway in Manhattan) and pupusas (the El Olomega food cart in Red Hook, Brooklyn), and wonder if there will be a “mass reckoning” for the city’s super-rich when they return after the Covid-19 pandemic. A curator at the Queens Museum explains how the New York City Panorama, a 9,335-square-foot architectural model built for the 1964 World’s Fair, gets updated, and why museum staff decided to leave the Twin Towers standing. Expertly edited and arranged, these striking snapshots make clear that in New York, “the people are the texture.” Admirers of the Big Apple will be enthralled. (Mar.)