BOOKS

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…)

BOOKS

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.

(more…)

BOOKS

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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…

Oscar Hijuelos: Ex-Smoker, Still Anxious

Zoe Proom  | August 17, 2011 9:57 AM

It was the cacophony of construction noise from Donald Trump’s ongoing redevelopment of the Upper West Side that caused Oscar Hijuelos to anxiously reach for a phantom cigarette. Despite having kicked the habit years prior, this instinctive reaction inspired the title of his memoir, “Thoughts Without Cigarettes.”

In his first foray into non-fiction, Hijuelos initially set out to analyze his various anxieties about life, but instead reflected more on his formative years as the son of Cuban immigrants in New York.

This recent work comes 21 years after his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.” Hijuelos was the first Hispanic-American to win the prestigious award.

(more…)

BOOKS

Q&A with Sapphire: The Push for Her Sequel ‘The Kid’

Christina Knight for NYC ARTS  | August 1, 2011 11:05 AM

Most writers’ first novels do not get made into an Oscar-winning film, but that’s what happened to the Brooklyn College M.F.A. graduate who goes by the pen name Sapphire. Her first work, the poetry and prose collection “American Dreams“ (1993), won her intellectual literary acclaim, but “Push” (1997) propelled the New York-based writer from the city’s poetry circles to Hollywood (“Precious“ is the book’s film adaptation) and book reading clubs across the country.

“Push’s” obese protagonist, Precious, is an abused, illiterate African-American teen mother from Harlem who bears two children by her father. Sapphire’s brilliant writing gives voice to an illiterate young woman and transforms her language on her path to literacy and self-esteem.

Fourteen years later, Sapphire’s second novel, “The Kid,” follows Precious’ beloved 9-year old son Abdul, who must cope when his mother dies of AIDS.

(more…)

Sure it’s Hot Now, But You Shoulda Seen 1896…

Sam Lewis  | July 22, 2011 4:28 PM

As the heat wave spreads across the country, the Tri-State Region prepares for temperatures in the 100s. Here, a boy plays in water from a fire hydrant (Summer 2010). MetroFocus/Sam Lewis

As the nation’s sweltering heat wave moved to the East Coast on Thursday, life’s daily routines, like cooking and commuting, became daunting tasks.

For those without air conditioning, this year’s scorcher — which has temperatures in the Tri-State region in the triple digits — can pose a health threat. The heat wave may seem unprecedented, but it’s been worse before. A lot worse. (more…)

I Feel Relatively Neutral About New York

Avery Monsen  | July 11, 2011 6:00 AM
Authors: Avery Monsen & Jory John
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: June 2011

It’s summertime in New York City. The days are longer. The nights are wilder. The backs are sweatier. We’re living the dream here, as long as your definition of “the dream” includes a sweaty, disgusting back.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, though. There are a few things you should know.

First, I’m the co-author of a recently published book called “I Feel Relatively Neutral About New York.”

Second, since some people take the word “neutral” to mean “negative,” you should know that right now, I  live in Queens. Also, I moved here after writing that book.  (more…)

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