Mike Wallace, Author . Bell & Weiland $18.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-9723155-1-7

The co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 here uses his extensive knowledge of the city to guide a new vision of New York after September 11. Wallace was in the public library preparing a follow-up book to Gotham when the city was attacked. After following the many different proposals for renewal, Wallace decided to lay them against lessons from history. His premise is that New York digests crisis to make itself stronger and has done so repeatedly over its 400-year history. In this essay-like monograph, published in conjunction with the Gotham Center for New York City History, Wallace sees a revitalized port, improved mass transit and more affordable housing as essential goals, and points out that previous accomplishments of urban planning were on a much grander scale than will be necessary to rebuild downtown: the 1930s New Deal, for example, was responsible for building innumerable health clinics, libraries, educational facilities, homeless shelters, courthouses, firehouses, police stations, LaGuardia Airport, the FDR Drive and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. Because the present budget crisis is no worse than the depression, Wallace sees no reason why renewal in this century should not be as progressive as it was in the last, since New York history has always shown that "the opposite side of disaster is opportunity." (Nov.)

FYI:Another November release complements Wallace's large-scale thoughts about New York's shoreline: Beyond the Edge: New York's New Waterfront, by Raymond W. Gastil, executive director of the Van Alen Institute, which has sponsored numerous competitions and exhibitions on urban design. Using 130 color and 39 b&w illustrations, Gastil offers examples from other cities and proposes a number of ingenious projects for the continued revitalization of Manhattan's edges, where the island "opens up beyond the topography of everyday life." (Princeton Architectural Press, $30 paper 208p ISBN 1-56898-327-1)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 01/01/2002
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