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New York, Year by Year: A Chronology of the Great Metropolis
by Jeffrey A Kroessler
Publisher: New York University Pres 2002
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Here is a fascinating chronological history of New York City from 1524 to 2001, looking at the people, buildings, institutions, political events, music, and businesses that helped shape the city. The book is arranged by year and then by date within the year. The events from 1524 to 1899 take up the first 95 pages, while events from 1900 to 2001 dominate the last 200 pages. Descriptions range from one sentence to a paragraph in length and give only the basic facts. In picking events, the author does not claim to be definitive but instead tries to give a feel for the events and people that made the city. He also emphasizes cultural and social events over political ones. The book is particularly strong on listing important buildings, for example, the Voorlezer's House, the oldest schoolhouse, built in 1695; the World Building, built in 1890; and the Bronx County Jail, built in 1937. Societies and institutions such as the New York Urban League (founded in 1911) and the New York Botanical Garden (founded in 1891) are also listed along with the first performances of operas, musicals, and plays. Though the book is fun to read, it is difficult to use for research. There is no bibliography and there are no citations for any of the entries, so the reader has nothing to refer to for more information. The index lists some people, societies, and specific places, but most of the headings are for more general subjects such as Apartment buildings; Music and musicians, classical; Newspapers. To find when Die Meistersinger was premiered in New York, one has to check all of the entries indexed under Opera and opera singers. This book would be a good starting point for the casual reader and a valuable tool for students who need to find out what happened in a specific year and for answering quick reference questions about New York.

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