About this item
New York is often described as the greatest city in the world. Yet much of the iconic architecture and culture which defines the city as we know it today – from the Empire State Building to the Pastrami sandwich – only came into being in the 1930s, in what author Jules Stewart argues was the most significant decade in the city’s 400-year history in his new book, Gotham Rising: New York in the 1930s.
After the roaring twenties, the catastrophic Wall Street Crash and the ensuing Depression seemed to spell disaster for the vibrant city. Instead, Stewart details how New York underwent an architectural, economic, social, and creative renaissance, on two levels: the four skyline icons that rose in the era (the Empire State Building, Waldorf-Astoria, Rockefeller Center, and the Chrysler Building), and with the cultural life in the streets below – the Harlem Renaissance championed by writers like Langston Hughes, the Jazz Age with the advent of Tin-Pan Alley, the birth of the swing era at places like the Cotton Club and with musical immortals like Duke Ellington, the arrival of an avant-garde artistic movement with Jackson Pollock and the fine artists at the Art Students League, the Jewish scientific and intellectual scene that fled Nazi Germany, and more.
Gotham Rising meant more than buildings and the arts. Stewart also details the leadership of the charismatic mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, who rose to power, declared war on the Mafia mobs running vast swathes of the city, attacked political corruption, and kick-started the economy through a variety of construction and infrastructure projects.
The city was the author’s birthplace, where he even spent time as a yellow cab driver - among “other various guises” - before beginning his career as a renowned journalist, translator, and historian. The result for the reader is a combination of meticulously-researched history writing about New York, with riveting stories spilling from every page. Gotham Rising is destined to become an essential title for the shelf of those who love American history and her most populous city. With a foreword by Amor Towles.
Includes a 16 page-gallery of iconic Black & White plates and a map.