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Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City

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How much do you actually know about New York City? Did you know they tried to anchor Zeppelins at the top of the Empire State Building? Or that the high-rent district of Park Avenue was once so dangerous it was called “Death Avenue”? Lively and comprehensive, Inside the Apple brings to life New York's fascinating past. This narrative history of New York City is the first to How much do you actually know about New York City? Did you know they tried to anchor Zeppelins at the top of the Empire State Building? Or that the high-rent district of Park Avenue was once so dangerous it was called “Death Avenue”? Lively and comprehensive, Inside the Apple brings to life New York's fascinating past. This narrative history of New York City is the first to offer practical walking tour know-how. Fast-paced but thorough, its bite-size chapters each focus on an event, person, or place of historical significance. Rich in anecdotes and illustrations, it whisks readers from colonial New Amsterdam through Manhattan's past, right up to post-9/11 New York. The book also works as a historical walking-tour guide, with 14 self-guided tours, maps, and step-by-step directions. Easy to carry with you as you explore the city, Inside the Apple allows you to visit the site of every story it tells. This energetic, wide-ranging, and often humorous book covers New York's most important historical moments, but is always anchored in the city of today.


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How much do you actually know about New York City? Did you know they tried to anchor Zeppelins at the top of the Empire State Building? Or that the high-rent district of Park Avenue was once so dangerous it was called “Death Avenue”? Lively and comprehensive, Inside the Apple brings to life New York's fascinating past. This narrative history of New York City is the first to How much do you actually know about New York City? Did you know they tried to anchor Zeppelins at the top of the Empire State Building? Or that the high-rent district of Park Avenue was once so dangerous it was called “Death Avenue”? Lively and comprehensive, Inside the Apple brings to life New York's fascinating past. This narrative history of New York City is the first to offer practical walking tour know-how. Fast-paced but thorough, its bite-size chapters each focus on an event, person, or place of historical significance. Rich in anecdotes and illustrations, it whisks readers from colonial New Amsterdam through Manhattan's past, right up to post-9/11 New York. The book also works as a historical walking-tour guide, with 14 self-guided tours, maps, and step-by-step directions. Easy to carry with you as you explore the city, Inside the Apple allows you to visit the site of every story it tells. This energetic, wide-ranging, and often humorous book covers New York's most important historical moments, but is always anchored in the city of today.

30 review for Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City

  1. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Fascinating! As John Lennon said: "Everywhere's somewhere, and everywhere's the same, really, and wherever you are is where it's at. But it's more so in New York." Fascinating! As John Lennon said: "Everywhere's somewhere, and everywhere's the same, really, and wherever you are is where it's at. But it's more so in New York."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura Auricchio

    I'm a third generation New Yorker, so I thought I knew the City pretty well. But this book is filled with bits of history that were completely new to me. I took one of the self-guided walking tours (Tour 11, The Upper West Side), and learned about buildings and places that I had passed a thousand times but had never noticed before. I'm looking forward to trying out the other dozen or so tours, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. I'm a third generation New Yorker, so I thought I knew the City pretty well. But this book is filled with bits of history that were completely new to me. I took one of the self-guided walking tours (Tour 11, The Upper West Side), and learned about buildings and places that I had passed a thousand times but had never noticed before. I'm looking forward to trying out the other dozen or so tours, especially now that the weather is getting warmer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jill Kleis

    Easy to read in little chunks (and skip sections that aren't of interest) this book was a delightfully detailed history of a city that I love. I was drawn in by the social and political history, but surprised myself by learning a lot about architecture, too. Can't wait for a chance to go to Manhattan and try out some of the walking tours. Easy to read in little chunks (and skip sections that aren't of interest) this book was a delightfully detailed history of a city that I love. I was drawn in by the social and political history, but surprised myself by learning a lot about architecture, too. Can't wait for a chance to go to Manhattan and try out some of the walking tours.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jill Mackin

    So very interesting! Lots and lots of history of the Big Apple. Enjoyed immensely.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Lopez

    I just finished this book, and I can't recommend it highly enough to NYC visitors or inhabitants. I just finished this book, and I can't recommend it highly enough to NYC visitors or inhabitants.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diz

    Since this was subtitled, I thought it would cover New York's history street-by-street or at least neighborhood-by-neighborhood, but instead it goes through the history chronologically, so it's not so useful as a street guide. There are some walking tours in the back of the book, but they may you refer back to entries earlier in the book, which can be a bit troublesome when walking on the street. The history sections were entertaining. There's a strong focus on small local history events. It make Since this was subtitled, I thought it would cover New York's history street-by-street or at least neighborhood-by-neighborhood, but instead it goes through the history chronologically, so it's not so useful as a street guide. There are some walking tours in the back of the book, but they may you refer back to entries earlier in the book, which can be a bit troublesome when walking on the street. The history sections were entertaining. There's a strong focus on small local history events. It makes you realize that history is everywhere, so while I won't be carrying this with me when I visit New York, I think having read this book will make me look at the smaller details in the city rather than rush by them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    This made me appreciate the history of the incredible city that is NYC. It's rich, packed tightly with just enough history/trivia/guides, yet organized in such a way that you can flip from one section or one tiny chapter to another and it feels continuous and consistent. I don't know how they managed to create a book that reads consecutively front-to-back, yet also reads as individual chapters taken apart -- but it works! I would carry this around with me and pull it out at random times to enrich This made me appreciate the history of the incredible city that is NYC. It's rich, packed tightly with just enough history/trivia/guides, yet organized in such a way that you can flip from one section or one tiny chapter to another and it feels continuous and consistent. I don't know how they managed to create a book that reads consecutively front-to-back, yet also reads as individual chapters taken apart -- but it works! I would carry this around with me and pull it out at random times to enrich and enliven my experience of walking around the city. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about NYC, and loves history. When is the one about Brooklyn being published!?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Schwartz

    A well written, well researched travel book. Even without much knowledge of American history, the clear explanations woven into stories of the city's growth and buildings' origins worked for me. If anything, I could have done with a tad more on the later years, the 20th century. But it was all good. A well written, well researched travel book. Even without much knowledge of American history, the clear explanations woven into stories of the city's growth and buildings' origins worked for me. If anything, I could have done with a tad more on the later years, the 20th century. But it was all good.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Delaurentis

    Incredible book! I consider myself a researcher of New York history, and somewhat well versed. I am in fact preparing to write a book about New York in the past--however--I can say without embarrassment that Michelle and James Nevius literally took me to school over everything I thought I knew about this great City. They are literally a treasure trove of rich and exciting information about a city that has, in and of itself, shaped America. Their research is so deep and profound you'll be surpris Incredible book! I consider myself a researcher of New York history, and somewhat well versed. I am in fact preparing to write a book about New York in the past--however--I can say without embarrassment that Michelle and James Nevius literally took me to school over everything I thought I knew about this great City. They are literally a treasure trove of rich and exciting information about a city that has, in and of itself, shaped America. Their research is so deep and profound you'll be surprised at all the interesting and exciting things the history of New York answers! Even to questions you never thought to pose. And in the back is a walking tour of all the topics and items brought out in the book (almost all). This book is packed with stunning gems and glittering stones of knowledge and trivia, and will in no way let you down. It is well worth not only reading, like borrowing it from a library, but owning--largely because of the amazing walking tours in back--in your own collection. I now move forward with the writing of my book with a newfound confidence and I would like to extend my thanks to the Nevius' for such a wonderful body of research and a excellently constructed book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bryanna Plog

    Fantastic look at the history of New York City through specific people, sites, and events. Short chapters make for a fun, easy read but packed full of interesting and relevant information. Recommended for people traveling to or living in New York.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Boni

    Great stories and details, but all separate. That's by design, so who can complain. With these types of books, maps would be great. Great stories and details, but all separate. That's by design, so who can complain. With these types of books, maps would be great.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Liz Schultz Nuytten

    If you’re a NYC history buff...take this book with you on your next trip! Fabulous DIY walking tours!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Du

    This was a decent read. I liked the quirky aspects of the book and the way the topic areas were grouped. It was a fun book to read before visiting the City.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah Meehan

    Interesting book if you like NYC

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gervy

    V good. Lots of stuff I didn't know. V good. Lots of stuff I didn't know.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kabrina

    A nice overview of the history of New York City, I liked the way this book was organized. It is divided into 8 sections, the first 7 each covering an era in history (the 8th featuring walking tours of the city that go hand and hand with the book.) Each section is divided into small chapters, each a blurb on a historical event, place or person. This was a nice way for the book to touch on many aspects of the history of NYC, giving readers just a taste rather than spending an excessive amount of t A nice overview of the history of New York City, I liked the way this book was organized. It is divided into 8 sections, the first 7 each covering an era in history (the 8th featuring walking tours of the city that go hand and hand with the book.) Each section is divided into small chapters, each a blurb on a historical event, place or person. This was a nice way for the book to touch on many aspects of the history of NYC, giving readers just a taste rather than spending an excessive amount of time on any one subject. My only complaint is the authors offered too many opinions and personal asides. Such as this when speaking of the second King Kong movie, "a film that launched the career of Jessica Lange, but did little else worth remembering." Agree or not (I have no opinion, I haven't seen the movie), I just don't feel like these types of statements belong in a historical reference guide. But overall, I recommend this to anyone who wants a nice overview of the history of New York City.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Read this one entirely at work as it is one of our desk reference books. I'm glad I did - so many tidbits of interesting info. This is where I discovered that there are approximately 20,000 bodies buried under Washington Square Park (it was a potter's field that was mostly not disinterred to build the park) and the there was an actual wall on Wall street, but when Native Americans attacted the Dutch settlement, the attackers literally just walked around the edge of the wall. Loved reading throug Read this one entirely at work as it is one of our desk reference books. I'm glad I did - so many tidbits of interesting info. This is where I discovered that there are approximately 20,000 bodies buried under Washington Square Park (it was a potter's field that was mostly not disinterred to build the park) and the there was an actual wall on Wall street, but when Native Americans attacted the Dutch settlement, the attackers literally just walked around the edge of the wall. Loved reading through the book - learned so much, and it helped me contextualize some of the floating bits of info that I had already accumulated. It covers a lot without feeling heavy and makes me wish there was a new City Beautiful movement.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Reza Amiri Praramadhan

    A fascinating book on History of New York City, The Big Apple. It covered from the arrival of the Dutch and the establishment of Nieuw Amsterdam right to 9/11. Throughout the book we can see how New York built itself into one of the most iconic cities in US. Unfortunately, while the book is filled with many interesting informations about memorable events and interesting events, it lacked illustrations, or perhaps, map, which undoubtedly would be very useful for people like me, who had no idea on A fascinating book on History of New York City, The Big Apple. It covered from the arrival of the Dutch and the establishment of Nieuw Amsterdam right to 9/11. Throughout the book we can see how New York built itself into one of the most iconic cities in US. Unfortunately, while the book is filled with many interesting informations about memorable events and interesting events, it lacked illustrations, or perhaps, map, which undoubtedly would be very useful for people like me, who had no idea on what New York looks like. However, one of the strong points of this book is that there is a final chapter on recommended walking tours on the city, which would be very helpful, if, God allows, I were able to visit one day.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeramey

    Learned a lot about New York City, and through a different narrative style than a simple history book. Going location by location was a unique way to learn, and had me running to my computer to look things up every couple of pages. That said, I can't give this book more than 3 stars because it uses double columns for the text on a single page. I felt like this made it take substantially longer than it should have to read. Learned a lot about New York City, and through a different narrative style than a simple history book. Going location by location was a unique way to learn, and had me running to my computer to look things up every couple of pages. That said, I can't give this book more than 3 stars because it uses double columns for the text on a single page. I felt like this made it take substantially longer than it should have to read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Flack

    Highly recommend for anyone living in New York City. The stories are split up into roughly 150 short vignettes, each on a different historical tidbit about New York -- a format which make for a highly accessible book. This book has really deepened my connection with this city. I give it 4 stars and not 5 because occasionally the stories lose focus of the most interesting aspects of the history. I recommend!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I've been meaning to explore the history and architecture of NYC for a long time now, but it was always so overwhelming. I mean, where did I start? This book was nice to ease into all that history as it basically gives various information based on buildings in the city. I can't wait for my next visit to New York to go to some lesser known areas (for tourists at least) that are ripe with very interesting history. I've been meaning to explore the history and architecture of NYC for a long time now, but it was always so overwhelming. I mean, where did I start? This book was nice to ease into all that history as it basically gives various information based on buildings in the city. I can't wait for my next visit to New York to go to some lesser known areas (for tourists at least) that are ripe with very interesting history.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Holly Cline

    This book is exactly what I wanted. Enough nyc sights & history that I've never known about even though I live here. The walking tours are great. There's just enough history/fact to make you feel like you actually know what you're looking at without getting so in depth that the book is 20,000 pages long. This book is exactly what I wanted. Enough nyc sights & history that I've never known about even though I live here. The walking tours are great. There's just enough history/fact to make you feel like you actually know what you're looking at without getting so in depth that the book is 20,000 pages long.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The authors are walking tour guides and this book nicely divides into quick chunks of history for various sites. Some pictures. I found a factual errors on p. 19 that says the Methodists moved into NY shortly after 1664, but the Methodists did not come about until 1740s, so depending on your definition of "shortly," . . . The authors are walking tour guides and this book nicely divides into quick chunks of history for various sites. Some pictures. I found a factual errors on p. 19 that says the Methodists moved into NY shortly after 1664, but the Methodists did not come about until 1740s, so depending on your definition of "shortly," . . .

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bree

    This is a great book, organized well, short and sweet but informational and interesting. I plan to read Gotham at some point, but this was a good introduction to the history of NYC and a lot easier to finish than a 1000+ page tome. I look forward to being able to take the walking tours sometime in the near future.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Edgar Alanis

    Clear and concise, this is a great read to get a sweeping view of New York City's rich history. Split into nuggets of information, the book caters to those interested in the main ideas/main events that greatly shaped the culture and topography of the city. I'd highly recommend this for tourists and NYC natives, alike. Clear and concise, this is a great read to get a sweeping view of New York City's rich history. Split into nuggets of information, the book caters to those interested in the main ideas/main events that greatly shaped the culture and topography of the city. I'd highly recommend this for tourists and NYC natives, alike.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shay

    Two thumbs up, very interesting, i def. learned a lot of history. Though it seemed the Indians and Blacks disappeared after the 1700s.. However, It made me even more interested to find out in depth the happenings and goings-on. Google is your friend while reading this. I was able to view the buildings inside and out and view the old Manhattan map:)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carianne Carleo-Evangelist

    I really enjoyed this read. Mostly because I was reading it outside of New York and got some distance. I liked the focus on the pieces of history that remain vs a tell all of everything that has happened in New York's 400 years. I'd love an updated edition of this that covers the opening of the 9/11 memorial, HH400 and success of Hamilton musical. All in all, excellent read I really enjoyed this read. Mostly because I was reading it outside of New York and got some distance. I liked the focus on the pieces of history that remain vs a tell all of everything that has happened in New York's 400 years. I'd love an updated edition of this that covers the opening of the 9/11 memorial, HH400 and success of Hamilton musical. All in all, excellent read

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    A fascinating armchair travel book (for those of us outside the New York area) and an inspiration for traveling to NYC soon. My favorite kind of travel book--lots of great history, architecture, cultural references and trivia.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Roman Gokhman

    I've gotta be honest. I didn't read the whole book; I won't have enough time in New York to appreciate all of the history the authors paint here. But I read the majority, and very quickly, and was very pleased with it. I've gotta be honest. I didn't read the whole book; I won't have enough time in New York to appreciate all of the history the authors paint here. But I read the majority, and very quickly, and was very pleased with it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bentley Ferraina

    Simple, concise overview of the history of Manhattan that includes helpful walking tours. Very accessible and can be read in bits and pieces and in any particular order.

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