New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation (Hardcover)

New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation By Thomas Dyja Cover Image
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A New York Times Notable Book

A lively, immersive history by an award-winning urbanist of New York City’s transformation, and the lessons it offers for the city’s future.

Dangerous, filthy, and falling apart, garbage piled on its streets and entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble; New York’s terrifying, if liberating, state of nature in 1978 also made it the capital of American culture. Over the next thirty-plus years, though, it became a different place—kinder and meaner, richer and poorer, more like America and less like what it had always been.

New York, New York, New York, Thomas Dyja’s sweeping account of this metamorphosis, shows it wasn’t the work of a single policy, mastermind, or economic theory, nor was it a morality tale of gentrification or crime. Instead, three New Yorks evolved in turn. After brutal retrenchment came the dazzling Koch Renaissance and the Dinkins years that left the city’s liberal traditions battered but laid the foundation for the safe streets and dotcom excess of Giuliani’s Reformation in the ‘90s. Then the planes hit on 9/11. The shaky city handed itself over to Bloomberg who merged City Hall into his personal empire, launching its Reimagination. From Hip Hop crews to Wall Street bankers, D.V. to Jay-Z, Dyja weaves New Yorkers famous, infamous, and unknown—Yuppies, hipsters, tech nerds, and artists; community organizers and the immigrants who made this a truly global place—into a narrative of a city creating ways of life that would ultimately change cities everywhere.

With great success, though, came grave mistakes. The urbanism that reclaimed public space became a means of control, the police who made streets safe became an occupying army, technology went from a means to the end. Now, as anxiety fills New Yorker’s hearts and empties its public spaces, it’s clear that what brought the city back—proximity, density, and human exchange—are what sent Covid-19 burning through its streets, and the price of order has come due. A fourth evolution is happening and we must understand that the greatest challenge ahead is the one New York failed in the first three: The cures must not be worse than the disease.

Exhaustively researched, passionately told, New York, New York, New York is a colorful, inspiring guide to not just rebuilding but reimagining a great city.

About the Author

Thomas Dyja is the author of the award-winning The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream, as well as three novels. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Praise For…

"[A] tour de force, a work of astonishing breadth and depth that encompasses seminal changes in New York’s government and economy, along with deep dives into hip-hop, the AIDS crisis, the visual arts, housing, architecture and finance..... [Dyja has] in this outstanding work, done all that a historian can do to light the way forward, by so vividly illuminating the past."New York Times

“An exhaustively researched, eye-opening look at the great city’s tumultuous, transformative recent history and what comes next.”People Magazine

“This engaging book has the potential to become a classic text.”—Library Journal

'[A] cogent narrative studded with pithy insights and vivid profiles... Dyja’s exhaustive knowledge of the era, dazzling prose, and all-embracing sympathy—and scorn when it’s merited—make for a stimulating study of New York’s never-ending upheaval." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] mammoth undertaking – a whirlwind history of the city from the late 1970s to the present… fast-moving, punchy prose…He’s a master of using perfectly chosen adjectives to sketch a character.” —New Statesman

“a psychedelic express subway ride, from pre-1970s fiscal crisis to post-pandemic” Sam Roberts, New York Times

"Superb reflections on a city resurgent...Dyja goes far beyond politics and Wall Street: he is equally interested in and intelligent about everything from Aids to hip-hop, Keith Haring and Anna Wintour, Spike Lee, Jay-Z and Elaine Kaufman…This is an especially important book for the majority of New Yorkers too young to remember the remarkable trajectory the city has experienced." —Charles Kaiser, The Guardian

"Morally and politically charged, an urgent, readable story of Gotham’s fortunes." —Kirkus Reviews

[Dyja] boldly anatomizes New York in a phenomenally intricate and revelatory web of provocative juxtapositions…A dynamic, passionately knowledgeable, surprising, and gutsy chronicle of a world-shaping city and humanity itself in all its paradoxical wonder. Booklist (starred review)

"[A] book as marvelous and maddening as the city itself...Dyja's energetic storytelling, eclectic interests, and supple prose make New York, New York, New York a tour de force, and his intellectual integrity overcomes the passionate political convictions that help to make his chronicle so pungent." Daniel Akst, Reason

“Dyja’s prose sparkles and sings, revealing endlessly fascinating details while never bogging down or losing an overall sense of forward momentum. This is brilliant work on a broad canvas.” Passport Magazine

“Dyja’s stellar achievement with this indispensable book has been to write of the last four decades of New York in the very way that the city likes to think of itself—as propulsive, alluring, energetic, infuriating, scrappy, lyrical, nostalgic, omniscient, staggering, memorable, magical. The result is a history like no other for a city like no other.” —SIMON WINCHESTER, New York Times bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Men Who United the States

“This moment was made for New York, New York, New York. With writing like the city itself—undaunted, unswerving, vibrant, and urgent—Thomas Dyja has given each of us the key to the city. We should grab it so we can unlock how to renew and revitalize this cherished metropolis.” —RICHIE JACKSON, author of Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son

“Tom Dyja paints a wry, entertaining, and important portrait of New York City over the past half century. Offering vibrant detail and a vivid cast of characters, his is a pointillist portrait that makes a clear point: change is the dominant melody of this city—a city that will not be strangled by bankruptcy, or a coronavirus, or the motley collection of boobs who govern and loudmouths who grab attention. New York will always transcend its afflictions because, in Whitman’s phrase, it contains ‘multitudes.’” —KEN AULETTA, New Yorker writer and author of The Streets Were Paved with Gold

“Alongside E. B. White’s Here Is New York, Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Robert Caro’s The Power Broker, and Luc Sante’s Low Life on my short shelf of essential books about America’s greatest urban place now goes Thomas Dyja’s splendid New York, New York, New York. This opinionated, encyclopedic, and wise chronicle coincides exactly with my time in the city so far, yet I learned something new on every page—and finished with a deeper appreciation of the astounding, self-loving, evolving hive New Yorkers inhabit.” —KURT ANDERSEN, New York Times bestselling author of Evil Geniuses and Fantasyland
Product Details
ISBN: 9781982149789
ISBN-10: 1982149787
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 16th, 2021
Pages: 544
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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