Change is part of New York City’s DNA. It’s what makes it one of the most exciting places to be in the world. No matter the era, this town has managed to inspire countless minds, from the named to the nameless, the known to the unknown. Visually compelling and pulsating with life, the Big Apple has found itself the subject of novels, films, art, essays, songs. In short: it’s the perfect muse. The following books manage to capture that something special that has drawn creatives to this island, decade in and decade out.
The New Yorkers
Robert Herman’s The New Yorkers efforts to immortalize neighborhoods on the verge of transformation. Through bold compositions and vibrant colors, Herman represents moments of vulnerability and strength that New Yorkers have long held within them. Pro tip: Take this with you on a walking tour of the Lower East Side just to see how much everything has changed.
Harlem: A Century in Images
Over the years, Harlem has served as the epicenter for some of the greatest art, literature, culture, and politics New York City has ever produced. Through a sweeping photographic journey captured by some of the preeminent talents in art and photography, Harlem: A Century in Images tells the story of a place and its extraordinary inhabitants.
New York Nights
If you want to see how the night owls take to these city streets but don’t have the willpower to stay up until dawn, New York Nights is the book for you. Let photographers James and Karla Murray take you on a tour of darkened streets and shining neon lights. Their speciality: shots of New York City’s most historically significant bars, restaurants, music venues, and shops–all taken after the sun goes down.
If the streets of Brooklyn could talk, they would tell the story of how a leading center of industry turned into one of the most popular boroughs in New York City. Lost Brooklyn illuminates that transition. If you’re a diehard Brooklynite with a taste for history, we highly recommend adding this to your shelf.
Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008
Once called “America’s Playground,” Coney Island immediately established itself as a cultural symbol of beachside enchantment and electrifying thrills. From its inception as a seaside resort to its life as an iconic mecca of entertainment, this tome illustrates Coney Island throughout the ages. Just in time for summer, Visions of an American Dreamland is the perfect addition to your library.
All the Buildings in New York: That I’ve Drawn So Far
This pictorial adventure by illustrator James Gulliver Hancock’s focusses on the city’s varied architectural styles and cityscapes. Like a visual love letter to the city, these colorful images, organized by neighborhood, are filled with details to delight any New Yorke aficionado, no matter the age.