Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City

This book made my heart hurt, I liked it so much. If you can’t spend time in the greatest city on earth, you can soothe your senses by picking up a copy of this book and flipping through to get the visual cacophony delivered straight to your eyeballs. I was delighted to find that it wasn’t just a neighborhood-by-neighborhood exploration, but it dips into weird bits of history like Typhoid Mary, underground pinball, Nellie Bly, the oldest bars in the city (and the secret bars), and the history of Kim’s Video. Only yesterday I was bemoaning the loss of video rental stores where you could legally access any movie by dropping in and renting a flick. Kim’s Video was a mecca for film nerds, the collection built from obscurity to wondrous by Matt Marello, an employee of Mr. Kim’s. After many decades of success, it succumbed to the pressure of online nonsense and Mr. Kim sold the collection off to an Italian town that promised to host a 24-hour film festival and name a pavilion in his honor; none of their promises have been kept and the films are suspected to be slowly decaying in a poorly preserved environment. Beautifully done book by Julia Wertz, a document of her decade in New York.