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20 New York City Books: Gift Guide 2011, Non-Fiction Edition

2011's crop of New York-centered books yields fantastic stories, uncommon vistas, and (sorry for the cliché) something for everyone. Be sure to bookmark this page while out browsing your favorite bookstore.

High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky by Joshua David and Robert Hammond. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2011. 352 pages. (paper) The two citizens who founded the city's sensational elevated park tell their story.

Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture by John Hill. W. W. Norton & Company. 2011. 304 pages. (paper) It's about time we get a book that looks at the new New York architecture. Projects arranged by neighborhoods allow for self-guided adventures.

Field Guide to the Street Trees of New York City by Leslie Day with illustrations by Trudy Smoke. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 2011. 295 pages. (paper) A guide to fifty trees that line New York streets. Let's be well-versed on our strolls through leafy neighborhoods.

Stories in Stone New York: A Field Guide to New York City Area Cemeteries & Their Residents by Doug Keister. Gibbs Smith. 2011. 256 pages. (hardcover) Photos and GPS directions to the city's permanent residents and their gravesites.

Andy Warhol's New York City: Four Walks, Uptown to Downtown by Thomas Kiedrowski with illustrations by Vito Giallo. Little Bookroom. 2011. 144 pages. (paper) Warhol fans will delight in following the art giant through his favorite places in the city.

Raised by the Church: Growing up in New York City's Catholic Orphanages by Edward Rohs and Judith Estrine. Fordham University Press. 2011. 240 pages. (hardcover) Compassionate and humorous story of a New York social worker's life and thoughts about growing up in a charitable institution.

The Other Islands of New York City: A History and Guide (Third Edition) by Sharon Seitz and Stuart Miller. Countryman Press. 2011. 344 pages. (paper) Strange to think, but the city is situated among 42 islands in a complex archipelago. Learn about the other islands beyond Mannahatta.

High Rock and the Greenbelt: The Making of New York City's Largest Park by John G. Mitchell, edited by Charles E. Little. Center Books. Center for American Places. 2011. 208 pages. (hardcover) Revisiting a 1976 book by an editor at National Geographic, conservationist Charles E. Little adds new information about Staten Island's Greenbelt.

Fading Ads of New York City by Frank Jump. The History Press. 2011. 224 pages. (hardcover) We spot the ghost signs often on the buildings, signifiers of a fading New York. A New York artist and educator with a passion for the signs and his own life struggle captures the signs in great depth.

My City, My New York: Famous New Yorkers Share Their Favorite Places by Jeryl Brunner. Globe Pequot. 2011. 256 pages. (paper) Celebrities share their insider secrets.

Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany by Stephen Sondheim. Knopf. 2011. 480 pages. (hardcover) The accomplished Broadway musical maker continues his story with this second volume. Anecdotes abound. The lyrics and music remain in your head for years.

Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York by James Wolcott. Doubleday. 2011. 272 pages. (hardcover) The world of gritty and intensely creative New York in the early 1970s, told by Vanity Fair's cultural critic, then a young writer determined to survive.

• Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever by Will Hermes. Faber & Faber. 2011. 384 pages. (hardcover) The story of the music that poured out of New York lofts and studios from 1973 to 1977. 

Decoded by Jay-Z. Spiegel & Grau. 2011. 352 pages. (paper) One of the most powerful figures in the music industry, as a hip-hop artist and executive, tells of his young life in Brooklyn's housing projects and on the streets of Jersey. The story explains the songs.

Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York (Metropolitan Museum of Art) by Peter Kenny, Frances F. Bretter, Michael K. Brown, Matthew A. Thurlow. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2011. 312 pages. (hardcover) A catalog for the Met exhibit details the work of the nation's most well-known cabinet maker. Phyfe worked for New York's wealthiest families.

Sol LeWitt: Structures, 1965-2006, edited by Nicholas Baume. Other Distribution. 2011. 226 pages. (hardcover) Public Art Fund's assemblage of the Structures, seen this past fall in City Park.

De Kooning: A Retrospective by Jim Coddington, John Elderfield (editor, author), Willem de Kooning. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 2011. 504 pages. The prolific mid-century New York artist is the subject of a celebrated exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 (Jewish Museum) by Mason Klein and Catherine Evans. Yale University Press. 2011. 248 pages. (hardcover). The catalogue of the Jewish Museum's exhibition of socially-conscious photographers.

Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art by Leah Dickerman and Anna Indych-Lopez. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 2011. 148 pages. (hardcover) The exhibition catalogue fully tells the story of Rivera's special solo exhibition in New York in the early 1930s.

Cecil Beaton: The New York Years by Donald Albrecht, with contributions by The Museum of The City of NY. Skira Rizzoli. 2011. 240 pages. (hardcover) Aristocratic Beaton's years in the city as a celebrity photographer, glamorizing New York's fashionistas and art celebrities.






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Several museums in New York City are open on Mondays, including MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney.

This list has been expanded to include free or pay-what-you-wish hours.


American Museum of Natural History Central Park West and 79th Street
See the post, Big Things to See at the American Museum of Natural History.
Cooper Hewitt
2 East 91st St.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave

Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Ave

Metropolitan Museum of Art 100 Fifth Avenue
See the post 25 Things To Do Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Museum of the City of New York
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