Saturday, November 4

Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City - Julia Wertz

"New York City can be the place where you go to 'make it,' but as cartoonist Julia Wertz points out in her new book, it's as storied for its failures as its successes. A 300-page visual epic, Tenements, Towers & Trash captures the New York that's risen up by stacking failure upon failure as implacably as residents toss bags onto curbside garbage piles. This isn't The City That Never Sleeps, it's The City Where Dreams Go To Die. But as far as sweeping histories of dead dreams go, Wertz's is a pretty upbeat one. She has a passion for abandoned places (her urban exploration blog, Adventure Bible School, offers plenty of photographic evidence) and she adores uncovering tangible remnants of fizzled ambitions and cockamamie schemes. She sketches page after page of charming flops. There are long-closed businesses whose signs lend charisma to generically gentrified neighborhoods. There are phased-out technologies that once provided cleanliness, safety and transit. There are notorious citizens whose spectacular acts of moral nihilism included theft, arson and murder. In Wertz's hands, even these people have some appeal — they're pathetic, but scary. ..."
NPR: 'Tenements, Towers & Trash' Brings Clean Lines To The City Of Failure

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