If you are looking for a series to take your mind off the recession or put it in historical context, this is it: the PBS dvd series by Rick Burns, entitled New York(dvd 974.7 New).
Televised pre-911, the series provides great historical views of New York as well as the skyline to 2000. It begins in the 1600s when the city is a Dutch trading colony and follows New York's British, then post-revolutionary American history. The series offers academic commentary and also quotes letters, memoirs, and poetry.
Did you know that the wall from which Wall Street takes its name was built by slaves? Did you know that the Empire State building had barely enough tenants to keep it going when it first opened? Did you know that two big market crashes occurred in the 1800s, in part brought about by wild real estate speculation (hmmm...)
New York, the documentary, is candid about the city's historical troubles, such as the displacement of native peoples, tenement housing, and slave labour conditions leading to events like the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. Nevertheless, the city emerges as a unique entity enriched by its multi-ethnic history and community.
Much of the documentary focuses on the facscinating workings of New York's early civic politics and the role of developers. This series is a must see for travellers, architecture and history buffs.
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Gangs of New York (dvd fic gan) This intense film featuring Leonardo di Caprio, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day Lewis as an unforgettable villian focuses on the squallor and crime in the Five Points district of New York at the turn of the last century (strong content). Read the non-fiction title Gangs of New York, which inspired the movie.
The Historical Atlas of New York Cityis an intriguing map-based look at the city.
We have many travel guides available, but you may not know that the 4th floor of the Castell Central Library also has city maps and travel brochures, some of which may be signed out?