Cover image for Cityscapes : a history of New York in images
Cityscapes : a history of New York in images
Rock, Howard B., 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xix, 445 pages : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F128.37 .R6 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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Neither a conventional history of the city nor simply a collection of illustrations and photographs, this ground-breaking work weaves together diverse historical works--from political and economic analyses to ethnic and gender studies--with visual evidence from each period.

Through almost 800 images, Cityscapes tells the story of the city from its origins in the early seventeenth century through the end of the twentieth century. In lithographs, paintings, drawings, and broadsides, New York is portrayed as rising from a small Dutch outpost to a republican seaport whose life was framed by the American Revolution. The visual evidence changes to etchings, photographs, and lithographs as Cityscapes depicts a mid-nineteenth-century city torn by dislocations caused by a multiethnic society amid the turmoil of the industrial revolution. Documenting the turn of the last century, a wealth of photographs shows the new five-borough metropolis taking in waves of immigrants and portrays the evolution of the immigrant metropolis into the cosmopolitan city of mid-century. In its final chapter, Cityscapes looks at the global village and takes stock of New York's role as the world economic and artistic capital of the late twentieth century.

This lavish volume shows how New York produced contemporary understandings of what makes a city, from a distinctive skyline, to a democratic street grid, to diverse ethnic neighborhoods. From the depths of poverty to the heights of conspicuous consumption, images of New York illustrate how we comprehend the urban past, and imagine its future.

Author Notes

Howard B. Rock is a professor of history at Florida International University. His previous books include Artisans of the New Republic: The Tradesmen of New York City in the Age of Jefferson; The New York City Artisan, 1789-1825: A Documentary History; and Keepers of the Revolution: New Yorkers at Work in the Early Republic. Deborah Dash Moore is professor of religion at Vassar College. Her previous books include At Home in America: Second Generation New York Jews (Columbia) and the award-winning Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, coedited with Paula Hyman.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Rock, a historian, and Moore, a professor of religion, identify and trace the strands that make up the complex, vibrant genetic code of the mighty city of New York. Eloquently linking fine prints and magnificent photographs (many by renowned photographers) with an impressively fluid text, they present a classy stop-motion film of the evolution of Manhattan from a small seventeenth-century Dutch settlement at the southern tip to the great massing of towers that claimed the entire island at the close of the twentieth century. Throughout this fascinating, artistic, and, most importantly, humanistic chronicle, Rock and Moore keep everything in motion. They track the exponentially increasing number and variety of trades, religions, races, and ethnicities. They analyze architecture and infrastructure and document changes in commerce, culture, and city services, capturing the texture of life and the "sharp contrasts" at the city's hectic heart. In the closing chapter, images of the World Trade Center serve as poignant reminders that the next pictorial history of New York will begin with the center's horrific destruction. Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

Cityscapes is an engaging history of New York City from its beginnings in the mid-17th century as a small Dutch trading post at the tip of Manhattan Island to its present position as the nation's largest city and the country's economic and cultural capital. Rock (history, Florida International Univ.) and Moore (religion, Vassar) have assembled a stunning array of paintings, drawings, broadsides, and maps that both enliven the text and illustrate the city's development until the end of the 19th century; thereafter, the text is illustrated by etchings, lithographs, and especially photographs taken by some of the best-known photographers of the time as well as by sharp-eyed if lesser-known observers of the city scene. These images enrich our understanding of the city as it was transformed by successive waves of immigrants, first from Europe and then from all over the world. More detailed than Eric Homberger's The Historical Atlas of New York City (LJ 4/1/95), this is recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Colonial Seaport, 1623-1783
2 Republican Town, 1784-1829
3 Fragmented City, 1830-1884
4 Immigrant Metropolis, 1885-1939
5 Cosmopolitan Community, 1940-1965
6 Global Village, 1966-1999