The New York Nobody Knows

The Guardian has a review of a book I definitely plan to read soon, The New York Nobody Knows by William B Helmreich:

In the end, the voices and stories of the people he encounters are what make this book so memorable. He is a modern-day Henry Mayhew, the journalist who documented the hardscrabble lives of ordinary Londoners in the 1840s. The result is a  vivid portrait of the city, a view from the sidewalk of what former mayor David Dinkins called the “gorgeous mosaic” of New York: Hispanic men playing dominoes in a club on Westchester Avenue, in the Bronx, while a naked light bulb “swings wildly back and forth”, blown by a noisy metal fan; Hasidic children with skullcaps and sidelocks watching African American kids shoot hoops in the park near where Jay Z grew up in Brooklyn; a procession of some 2,000 people following a statue of the Virgin Mary through the Pelham Bay area of the Bronx; black people playing chess in the light of portable fluorescent lamps in Morningside Park, near Harlem, while a young man in sunglasses beside Helmreich finalises adrug deal on his mobile phone; and a cricket match at a club founded in 1872 in Walker Park, Staten Island, where “the soft strains of calypso music fill the air, mixed in with the smells of curried goat and roti”.

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