The Intimate City: Walking New York (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

New York Times Architecture Critic Michael Kimmelman’s walking tours are packed with history, nature, and culture and veer far from obvious destinations, though he also has interesting things to say about the classics, like Rockefeller Center and Museum Mile. Each tour, whether it’s Harlem, the South Bronx, Jackson Heights, or Broadway, is taken to the next level with the benefit of an expert local travel companion. If you haven’t read the pieces, you’re in for a treat, but even if you have, the book reads even better as a collection, and you can’t beat the package, printed on full color, high quality paper at a very reasonable price point. 

— Daniel Goldin


“‘The Intimate City’ is a joyful miscellany of people seeing things in the urban landscape, the streets alive with remembrances and ideas even when those streets are relatively empty of people.”—Robert Sullivan, New York Times Book Review

From the New York Times architecture critic, his celebrated walking tours of New York City, now expanded, covering four of the five boroughs and some 540 million years of history, accompanied by some of the people who know it best

As New York came to a halt with COVID, Michael Kimmelman composed an email to a group of architects, historians, writers, and friends, inviting them to take a walk. Wherever they liked, he wrote—preferably someplace meaningful to them, someplace that illuminated the city and what they loved about it. At first, the goal was distraction. At a scary moment when everything seemed uncertain, walking around New York served as a reminder of all the ways the city was still a rock, joy, and inspiration. What began with a lighthearted trip to explore Broadway’s shuttered theater district and a stroll along Museum Mile when the museums were closed soon took on a much larger meaning and ambition. These intimate, funny, richly detailed conversations between Kimmelman and his companions became anchors for millions of Times readers during the pandemic. The walks unpacked the essence of urban life and its social fabric—the history, plans, laws, feats of structural engineering, architectural highlights, and everyday realities that make up a place Kimmelman calls “humanity’s greatest achievement.”

Filled with stunning photographs documenting the city during the era of COVID, The Intimate City is the ultimate insider’s guide. The book includes new walks through LGBTQ Greenwich Village, through Forest Hills, Queens, and Mott Haven, in the Bronx. All the walks can be walked, or just be read for pleasure, by know-it-all New Yorkers or anyone else. They take readers back to an age when Times Square was still a beaver pond and Yankee Stadium a salt marsh; across the Brooklyn Bridge, for green tea ice cream in Chinatown, for momos and samosas in Jackson Heights, to explore historic Black churches in Harlem and midcentury Mad Men skyscrapers on Park Avenue. A kaleidoscopic portrait of an enduring metropolis, The Intimate City reveals why New York, despite COVID and a long history of other calamities, continues to inspire and to mean so much to those who call it home and to countless others.

About the Author

Michael Kimmelman is the architecture critic of The New York Times. He was the paper’s chief art critic and, from Berlin, created the Abroad column, covering politics and culture across Europe and the Middle East. He has reported from more than forty countries and founded Headway, a nonprofit journalistic initiative focused on global challenges and paths to progress. A native New Yorker, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, he is the author of The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa and Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere.

Praise For…

“‘The Intimate City’ is a joyful miscellany of people seeing things in the urban landscape, the streets alive with remembrances and ideas even when those streets are relatively empty of people.”—Robert Sullivan, New York Times Book Review

"A surprisingly uplifting time capsule and a new kind of love letter to the city seen through the eyes of those who know it intimately."—Good Housekeeping

“New York City comes alive in this scintillating collection of conversations between New York Times architecture critic Kimmelman . . . An enchanting and lyrical montage of an ever-evolving city.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A rich tapestry of architecture, urban living, and civic resilience . . . Throughout, the author and his guides never lose sight of the people who live and work in these communities. Fascinating historical facts abound . . . An important book for readers interested in understanding New York through its architecture.” —Kirkus

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593298411
ISBN-10: 0593298411
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: November 29th, 2022
Pages: 272
Language: English