New York City

Red-Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park

By Marie Winn

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"Marie Winn is our guide into a secret world, a true wilderness in the heart of a city. The scene is New York's Central Park, but the rich natural history that emerges here--the loons, raccoons, woodpeckers, owls, and hundreds of visiting songbirds--will appeal to wildlife lovers everywhere. At its heart is the saga of the Fifth Avenue hawks, which begins as a love story and develops into a full-fledged mystery. At the outset of our journey we meet the Regulars, a small band of nature lovers who devote themselves to the park and its wildlife.

"As they watch Pale Male, a remarkable young red-tailed hawk, woo and win his first mate, they are soon transformed into addicted hawk-watchers. From a bench at the park's model-boat pond they observe the hawks building a nest in an astonishing spot--a high ledge of a Fifth Avenue building three floors above Mary Tyler Moore's apartment and across the street from Woody Allen's. The drama of the Fifth Avenue hawks--hunting, courting, mating, and striving against great odds to raise a family in their unprecedented nest site--is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking."

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Bomb Squad: A Year Inside the Nation’s Most Exclusive Police

By Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein

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An unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the men who protect us from the most frightening prospect of life in the age of terrorism.

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Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabriell

I’m going to Brooklyn to visit my daughter, and as with every excursion to the “Big Apple,” I make a list of must-see places. Usually I include a tea house, a photo gallery, and a farmer’s market. (If you’re a locavore, NYC’s markets are BEYOND compare!). But this time I’m making a reservation at Prune--Gabrielle Hamilton’s acclaimed West Village restaurant. Coincidentally, Hamilton is also the author of Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. Her book, like her food (or so I’ve heard), is exceptional!

Hamilton’s childhood in rural Pennsylvania was unconventional and idyllic. Her father was a stage designer, frequently involved with Broadway productions; her mother, French and a former dancer, spent her days aproned in front of a six-burner stove. The clan lived in a crumbling, 19th-century silk mill. They regularly hosted legendary parties—complete with spring lamb roasting on a spit and an endless variety of creative themes.

Nothing to Fall Back on: The Life and Times of a Perpetual Optimist

By Betsy Carter

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"Successful and smart, Carter was not only the ultimate 'New York Woman,' she also founded a magazine by that name. This moving story, set against the gossipy world of magazine publishing, reveals what it is like to be stripped bare, wander through the rubble, and to put oneself together again."

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Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania

By Andy Behrman

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"An emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals with kaleidoscopic intensity the terrifying world of manic depression. For years Andy Behrman hid his raging mania behind a larger-than-life personality. He…changed jobs the way some people change outfits...But when he turned to art forgery, he found himself the subject of a scandal lapped up by the New York media, then incarcerated, then under house arrest. And for the first time the golden boy didn't have a ready escape hatch from his unraveling life."

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Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter

By Phoebe Damrosch

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"Provocative and highly entertaining, Service Included is the behind-the-scenes memoir from the first female captain at one of New York Citys most prestigious restaurants."

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Ghosty Men: The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers, New York's Greatest Hoarders, an Urban Historical

By Franz Lidz

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“Homer and Langley Collier moved into their handsome brownstone in white, upper-class Harlem in 1909. By 1947, however, when the fire department was forced to lower Homer's dead body by rope out of the house he hadn't left in nearly a decade, the neighborhood had degentrified, and the Collyers' home had become a sealed fortress of junk. Dedicated to preserving the past, the brothers had held on to virtually everything they had ever touched. …The front-page scandal of the discovery of Homer's body and the worldwide search for his brother, Langley, is interwoven with the heartbreaking story of the author's uncle Arthur, whose own tower of 'stuff' topples when he is blindsided by a mysterious and seductive femme fatale.”

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97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement

By Jane Ziegelman

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"In 97 Orchard , Jane Ziegelman explores the culinary life that was the heart and soul of New York's Lower East Side around the turn of the twentieth century-a city within a city, where Germans, Irish, Italians, and Eastern European Jews attempted to forge a new life. Through the experiences of five families, all of them residents of 97 Orchard Street, she takes readers on a vivid and unforgettable tour, from impossibly cramped tenement apartments down dimly lit stairwells where children played and neighbors socialized, beyond the front stoops where immigrant housewives found respite and company, and out into the hubbub of the dirty, teeming streets. Ziegelman shows how immigrant cooks brought their ingenuity to the daily task of feeding their families, preserving traditions from home but always ready to improvise. While health officials worried that pushcarts were unsanitary and that pickles made immigrants too excitable to be good citizens, a culinary revolution was taking place in the streets of what had been culturally an English city.

"Along the East River, German immigrants founded breweries, dispensing their beloved lager in the dozens of beer gardens that opened along the Bowery. Russian Jews opened tea parlors serving blintzes and strudel next door to Romanian nightclubs that specialized in goose pastrami. On the streets, Italian peddlers hawked the cheese-and-tomato pies known as pizzarelli , while Jews sold knishes and squares of halvah. Gradually, as Americans began to explore the immigrant ghetto, they uncovered the array of comestible enticements of their foreign-born neighbors."

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Painting American: The Rise of American Artists: Paris, 1867--New York, 1948

By Annie Cohen-Solal

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"Shortly after the Civil War, a resurgent America strode brashly onto the hallowed ground of the Paris salon to present its most distinguished painters in the Exposition Universelle of 1867. Their offereings included majestic Western waterfalls, magnificent portraits, sprawling landscapes--the cream of a nation ready to assert itself culturally as it had begun to do so economically. The Americans sat back to bask in anticipated applause. But their confidence would be shattered when the luminaries of the French Academy condemned the spectacle as being unworthy of the great nation that had produced it. The rebuke provoked widespread soul searching in America: Why was the land of Melville and Poe unable to produce paintings of comparable power? How was it to claim a place among nations producing art of real consequence?

"In this magnificent historical panorama, Annie Cohen-Solal shows how American pragmatism furnished the solution: Learn from the best. The French were then the undisputed masters of painting, and so to France the Americans went in hordes, apprenticing themselves in the studios of reknowned masters-- ... Cabanel, and others--or founding colonies such as the legendary one at Pont-Aven. From the seeds of their individual efforts would grow an extraordinary crop, one that included not only the great--Whistler, Cassatt, Sargent--but a legion of artists of all ranks who collectively pushed forward a bold new American enterprise. In two generations, Paris would be eclipsed, and the greatest French artists would begin coming to New York to be at the new center of everything."

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Acting Out

By Benilde Little

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"Ina West grew up independent and solitary, raised by an artistic, unavailable mother and a reliable, loving father. As a twenty-something photographer, Ina landed in Manhattan's bohemian art scene after college, at the same time that she started dating the devoted, hardworking Jay Robinson. When her mother's mental state began to deteriorate, her closest cousin became dangerously ill, and her free artist's lifestyle put her in some vulnerable situations, Ina found comfort in Jay's trajectory into the safe, privileged world of the African-American upper middle class. Forsaking her independence and creativity for the joys of family life and material wealth, she married Jay, had three children, and moved to the suburbs; gradually, Ina gave herself completely to motherhood and the upkeep of their increasingly luxurious lifestyle. And they had it all: the SUV, the lavish home, the expensive but casual wardrobe. Then one day, after twelve years, Jay comes home from work and announces that he's leaving."
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