In just the nick of time for outdoor summer weekends in New York City, Norton Architecture and Design Books has released a Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes. It’s a concise and beautifully illustrated guide to thirty-eight public spaces that claims to be the “first wide-ranging survey of New York urban landscapes from the first half of the nineteenth century to, well, tomorrow.”
Researched and written by Francis Morrone and Robin Lynn with photographs by Edward Toran, it’s focus is not just Manhattan and its celebrated public spaces like Times Square and the High Line but also on little-known sites like the Concrete Plant Park on the west bank of the Bronx River and Erie Basin Park and Newtown Creek Nature Walk in Brooklyn. It also features the relatively-unknown (at least to me) Urban Garden Room in the Bank of America Tower and my favorite Liz Christy Garden on the northeast corner of Houston and Bowery.
This is perfect book to consult before your relatives come to town and expect an insider’s tour of the city or before you pass by an unknown bit of green in the city. Many of the urban landscapes described in the guide are likely known only by nearby residents or only the most keen city observers.