New York real estate

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9780814771549_FullHabitats: Private Lives in the Big City
By Constance Rosenblum

New York University Press
256 pages

From the NYU Press website:

There may be eight million stories in the Naked City, but there are also nearly three million dwelling places, ranging from Park Avenue palaces to Dickensian garrets and encompassing much in between. The doorways to these residences are tantalizing portals opening onto largely invisible lives.  Habitats offers 40 vivid and intimate stories about how New Yorkers really live in their brownstones, their apartments, their mansions, their lofts, and as a whole presents a rich, multi-textured portrait of what it means to make a home in the world’s most varied and powerful city.


9781419706721Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers
By Becky Cooper
Foreword by Adam Gopnik

Abrams Image
120 pages

From the Abrams website:

Armed with hundreds of blank maps she had painstakingly printed by hand, Becky Cooper walked Manhattan from end to end. Along her journey she met police officers, homeless people, fashion models, and senior citizens who had lived in Manhattan all their lives. She asked the strangers to “map their Manhattan” and to mail the personalized maps back to her. Soon, her P.O. box was filled with a cartography of intimate narratives: past loves, lost homes, childhood memories, comical moments, and surprising confessions. A beautifully illustrated, PostSecret-style tribute to New York, Mapping Manhattan includes 75 maps from both anonymous mapmakers and notable New Yorkers, including Man on Wire aerialist Philippe Petit, New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov, Tony award-winning actor Harvey Fierstein, and many more.


9781593720520_sq-a7241315f316a663409b50259cc79fd04e1173a3-s2New York City of Trees
By Benjamin Swett

QuantuckLane Press
160 Pages

From Benjamin Swett’s website:

It is common to talk about how trees improve living conditions in cities by filtering and cooling the air, absorbing excess rainwater, and making neighborhoods more attractive, but little has been said about the equally important role of trees as storehouses of a city’s past. Just as trees remove carbon from the atmosphere and hold it for many years in their woody tissue, so do they sequester the shared experiences of the people who live alongside them. The growth rings of trees contain, in organized fashion, physical manifestations of the world and of the human presence in it at different times in a tree’s history. Trees also store memories through the associations they carry for the people who live alongside them and see them every day. By looking at a group of trees I have known over many years, scattered around the five boroughs of New York City, I have tried to show how much of the life of New York is contained in its trees.

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3 The Old York Library, Seymour Durst’s collection of books and ephemera related to New York City and its history, has found a new and permanent home at Columbia University Libraries’ Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library.  Durst started his collection in 1962 after a trip to Germany where he purchased a scrapbook of ephemera from New York City.  The collection grew to include more than 10,000 books, 3,000 photographs, 20,000 postcards and assorted maps and pamphlets at the time of Durst’s death in 1995.  It comes as no surprise that the Old York Collection contains many documents related to real estate development in New York, as the Durst family is one of New York’s most respected commercial and residential real estate families. Read the rest of this entry »

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Seymour Durst

Seymour Durst, a major New York City real estate developer, left the city more than steel and glass. Durst, who died in 1995, assembled what is surely the most inclusive and quirky private repository of New York books, ephemera and illustrated material, and with characteristic humor, named it Old York Library. The Durst family donated the Old York collection to the City University of New York Graduate Center in 2000. At present, it is being relocated to The Columbia University Libraries’ Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library where it will be processed, digitized and made available to scholars in the near future.

Mr. Durst did not consider himself a collector, and his interests defy pigeonholing.  His avid interest in early American history, the Revolutionary War, and Alexander Hamilton is evident, but he enjoyed his acquisitions whether it was an 1893 promotional piece for developing Harlem or the first edition of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.  Along with books of every relevant topic, era and size (from miniature to elephant folio and from the sixteenth century through the 1990’s), his collection contains scores of maps, real estate prospectuses and surveys, pamphlets on every subject (from eighteenth century merchants’ complaints on tariffs to sensational nineteenth century murder trials), rare eighteenth century almanacs, early-twentieth century advertisements, postcards, photographs, theater posters, song sheets, and atlases, and even a copy of Anderson’s Isometric Map of New York (1980). Read the rest of this entry »

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