This is the third volume (and the fourth chronologically) in architect and historian Robert A. M. Stern's monumental series of documentary studies of New York City architecture and urbanism. New York 1880, New York 1900, and New York 1930 have comprehensively covered the architects and urban planners who defined New York from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.
The post-World War II era witnessed New York's reign as the unofficial but undisputed economic and artistic capital of the world. By the mid-1970s, the city had experienced a profound reversal, and both its economy and its reputation were at a historic nadir. The architectural history of the period offered an exceptionally abundant and varied mix of building styles and types, from the faltering traditionalism of the 1940s through the heyday of International Style modernism in the 1950s and 1960s to the incipient postmodernism of the 1970s.
Organized geographically, New York 1960 provides an encyclopedic survey of the city's postwar architecture as well as relating a coherent story about each of its diverse neighborhoods. Primary sources are emphasized, including the commentaries of the preeminent architecture critics of the day; the text is illustrated exclusively with a rich collection of period photographs.
The massive New York 1960 is the third installment in a series covering the last 100 years of New York architectural history. Weighing almost eight pounds, it's a seemingly endless parade of images and information woven together into a fascinating tale of the changing urban landscape. The combination of political, social, and artistic commentary of the day culled largely from primary sources, along with sharp period photographs, provide a time machine's experience of the city that was. The historic tour begins with lower Manhattan and progresses uptown one neighborhood (and practically one building) at a time. With stories of buildings that were never built, teams of architects fired from projects, and the influence of the mayor's office, this chronicle offers amazing insight into how decisions were made and their impact on the city's life. The implementation of parking meters, the zoning laws to support retail on 5th Avenue, the movement of artists from Greenwich Village to what used to be Coenties Slip to industrial SoHo are a number of examples. For anyone interested in architecture, urban issues, or the history of New York City, New York 1960 should not be missed. --J.P. Cohen