Cover image for Empire city : the making and meaning of the New York City landscape
Empire city : the making and meaning of the New York City landscape
Scobey, David M., 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xi, 340 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HT168.N5 S35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A look at the dreams that inspired the changes in the landscape of New York, and the problems that eluded solution. A mosaic of grand improvements and environmental disorder, this work covers landmarks such as Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Author Notes

David M. Scobey is Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of the Arts of Citizenship Program at the University of Michigan.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Can a City Be Planned?p. 1
Bryant's Questionsp. 1
City Buildingp. 4
Urbanismp. 7
City and Nationp. 13
1. Metropolis and Nationp. 15
Saint Olmsted and Frederick the Greatp. 15
Allegories of the National Cityscapep. 19
The American Metropolisp. 23
The Class World of Bourgeois Urbanismp. 33
The Meanings of Empirep. 43
Olmsted's Returnp. 52
2. The Midcentury Boomp. 55
The American Museump. 55
Overview of a Boomp. 60
Terminals and Tenementsp. 70
The Eternal Building Up and Pulling Downp. 78
May Dayp. 85
3. The Rule of Real Estatep. 89
Myth of Originsp. 89
The Landscape of Accumulationp. 93
The Discipline of Land Valuesp. 107
The March of Improvementp. 114
The Logic of the Gridp. 120
Dreamlandp. 131
4. The Frictions of Spacep. 134
Uneven Developmentp. 134
Arterial Sclerosisp. 136
Modernization and Its Discontentsp. 141
Boundaries and Boundarilessnessp. 146
The New Urbanismp. 152
5. Imagining the Imperial Metropolisp. 158
Imagined Prospectsp. 158
The Bridge Between Capital and Culturep. 161
Eros and Civilizationp. 165
Second Empirep. 170
Disciplining the Streetsp. 174
Urbane Domesticityp. 180
Melodramap. 187
6. The Politics of City Buildingp. 189
The Emperor of New Yorkp. 189
Best Men, Businessmen, and Boostersp. 192
City Building and State Buildingp. 199
City Blocsp. 204
The Politics of Stewardshipp. 209
The Modern Princep. 214
7. Uptown Utopiap. 217
Overruling the Gridp. 217
Inside Out: The Paradoxes of Central Parkp. 227
An Urbanism of the Peripheryp. 240
Cheap Trains and Cottage Suburbsp. 246
The Uptown Prospectp. 249
8. The Failure of Bourgeois Urbanismp. 251
The Meanings of Reconstructionp. 251
The Legacies of Bourgeois Urbanismp. 255
The End of the Boom and the Politics of Retrenchmentp. 258
The Battle for the Annexed Districtp. 261
The March of Improvement, 1890p. 265
Appendix Statistical Tablesp. 269
Notesp. 275
Indexp. 331