The New Kids: Immigrant Teens Take on the Big Apple

Sam Lewis  | October 4, 2011 4:00 AM
Author: Brooke Hauser
Publisher: Free Press (Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date: Sept. 2011

“24 Hours in a Suitcase” was the title of Ngawang’s college essay, in which he describes the time he spent escaping from Tibet to the border of Nepal, zipped inside of a suitcase for 24 hours. It’s easy to forget that Ngawang experienced such trauma. His teachers at International High see him as a 17-year-old “punky kid” who wears Converse sneakers and occasionally hands in late assignments. (more…)


Resting in Peace in the City That Never Sleeps: A Field Guide to N.Y.’s Cemeteries

Douglas Keister  | September 29, 2011 6:00 AM
Author: Douglas Keister
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Publication Date: Oct. 2011

I’m a taphophile. Taphophiles are lovers of all things funerary, although the term is more specifically applied to cemetery aficionados. The word comes from the Greek taphos, which translates to tomb or burial.

I’m not alone. There are many of us, from darkly draped Goths to gray-haired grandmothers. Thousands of my kind are lurking on Facebook groups and in the darker corners of the Internet — especially as Halloween approaches. Who knows, some of your best friends, officemates or family members may even be taphophiles.

In New York City, where everything seems to have a price, cemeteries are absolutely free (well, when you’re visiting). Larger cemeteries like Green-Wood, Woodlawn, Sleepy Hollow and Kensico even provide complimentary maps. And where else can you get within six feet of so many notable New Yorkers?

I’ve written five books on cemeteries and my latest is all about the final resting places in and around New York City. Below are the highlights of some of the “best” cemeteries in the area.


What Would Jane Jacobs Say?

Sam Lewis  | September 16, 2011 6:00 AM

Fifty years ago the late Jane Jacobs rocked the planning and architecture world with her book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.”

Jacobs advocated for a new method of urban planning grounded in citizen participation and community control. She opposed plans to carve out tenement neighborhoods for the construction of high-rise developments and expressways. She was also a champion of what she called the “sidewalk ballet” of the wonderful kismet and happenstance that can occur on New York City streets. But in some ways, her work also fueled the gentrification of some urban areas, displacing the people and the businesses that created the diversity that originally drew Jacobs to the city in the first place. (more…)

David Chang: All Cookbooks, All the Time

September 14, 2011 1:00 PM

Imagine a bookstore with only one section: "Cookbooks." Photo courtesy of Kitchen Arts & Letters, Inc.

For book lovers and food lovers, I recommend spending an afternoon at Kitchen Arts and Letters, at 94th and Lexington. They have an incredible selection of food writing and cookbooks (contemporary and rare), and they can also find out of print books for you. I can spend hours here. It’s my favorite store in New York City.


David Chang is the executive chef and owner of the Momofuku restaurants. He has won several awards for his cuisine and was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2010. The first issue of his quarterly print journal Lucky Peach, came out in the summer of 2011 and is on sale now.

More My New York…


Tony Bennett’s Heart is Most Definitely in New York

David Evanier  | September 13, 2011 6:00 AM

Tony Bennett is famous for serenading San Francisco but he’s has had a passionate love affair with New York ever since he was a boy. Bennett will celebrate his 85th birthday with a performance at the Metropolitan Opera on Sept. 18 as well as the release of a new studio album, “Duets II.” The author of a new biography of Bennett pays tribute to Tony Bennett as the quintessential New Yorker.

At the age of 10, dressed in a little white suit, Tony Bennett stood alongside Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at the opening of the Triborough Bridge. The mayor and the young boy walked  together side by side, leading the throng of thousands across the bridge singing “Marching Along Together.” (more…)


Post-Irene Beach Plans? Here’s What to Expect

Orrin Pilkey, William Neal, Joseph Kelley and Andrew Cooper  | September 2, 2011 6:00 AM
Authors: Orrin Pilkey, William Neal, Joseph Kelley and Andrew Cooper
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: July 2011

Hurricane Irene left a lasting impression on beaches all along the Eastern Seaboard. The authors of “The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline,” explain what kinds of changes late-season beachgoers can expect in the wake of Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Irene.

Looking at the surface of a beach is like reading a history book. The physical processes that shape the beach leave behind all sorts of evidence of their presence.

Currents, the back and forth of the wave “swash” (the water that washes ashore after a wave has broken), wind, and, of course, hurricanes all leave unique and easily identifiable marks.



Michael Musto: A Guidebook for Natives

September 1, 2011 2:47 PM
Author: Robert Sietsema
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication Date: Mar. 1999

I’m old-fashioned so I use guidebooks. I have one written by Robert Sietsema, my colleague at the Village Voice, called “Secret New York.” It’s great because it takes you away from the most obvious New York places like the Russian Tea Room and Empire State Building. Rather than organizing it geographically, he’s broken the book into topics like “All-you-can-eat,” “Contraception,” “Williamsburg” and “Witchcraft.” That way, according to the guide’s introduction, “you can browse what interests you most.”

Michael Musto is an entertainment columnist for the Village Voice. He’s a regular pop culture commentator on television. He recently published his fourth book, “Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back.”

More My New York…

Q&A With Amy Waldman: What if a Muslim American Had Won the 9/11 Memorial Competition?

Heather Grossmann  | August 25, 2011 6:00 AM

“The Submission,” Amy Waldman’s first novel, imagines the uproar when a Muslim American architect is selected as the winner of an anonymous competition to design a memorial in the aftermath of a 9/11-like terrorist attack.


New York’s ‘Characters:’ Typefaces of the Town

Simon Garfield  | August 22, 2011 7:57 AM

Author Simon Garfield. Photo courtesy of Gotham Books.

Simon Garfield’s latest book, “Just My Type: A Book about Fonts,” tells the town’s little-known history of typography.

The signs on the subway system? Helvetica. The hackneyed “I Heart NY” logo? American Typewriter.

New York has always been a city of bold-faced names, whether in newsprint or neon.

The city is loud, so the letters must be loud too — and instantly recognizable.

MetroFocus asked this “font-ain” of knowledge for a guided tour of the city’s most ubiquitous typefaces.


Diana Byer: Lauren Redniss’ Singular Style

August 17, 2011 4:24 PM
Author: Lauren Redniss
Publisher: It Books
Publication Date: Dec. 2006

The work of New York-based writer and illustrator Lauren Redniss is something special. You may have seen her “op-art” pieces it the New York Times. I greatly enjoyed her two books “Radioactive:  Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love & Fallout” and “Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis,” about the last living performer from Broadway’s legendary Ziegfeld Follies. The Times nominated her work for a Pulitzer. She creates evocative images using collage and original drawings and all of the text is handwritten. It’s a style all her own. I also have the pleasure of knowing Lauren. We first met when she was a student at my school.

Diana Byer is the founder, president, and artistic director of New York Theatre Ballet and its training school, Ballet School NY.  She has performed as a principal and as a guest artist with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Manhattan Festival Ballet, New York City Opera Ballet, and the Juilliard Ensemble.

More My New York…

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