Tag Archives: books

Building up love with Lego

Here’s one of the wittiest  love declarations to New York I’ve ever seen. This chunky little board book is an imaginative look at life in the city constructed entirely out of Legos. In fewer pieces than one might think possible I Lego N.Y. captures both the iconic (the Empire State Building) and the mundane (man standing on a subway platform). The Lego-master builder is the German illustrator Christoph Niemann, who, after 11 years in NYC and a ton of covers for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and whatnot, recently moved back to Berlin.

I Lego N.Y. by Christoph Niemann, Abrams Image.


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Filed under Books to read, Things to enjoy

Peeking through the keyhole

Wanna know more about your fellow New Yorkers? Then join photographer, graphic designer, illustrator and hipster Todd Selby on his ramble through his friends’ apartments and residences. Don’t get discouraged by the site, it is, as most blogs, a little confusing. Most posts are introduced by a picture and a tiny header that tells us about the people Selby has photographed: their names, professions, where they live (or sometimes work) and the date of the post. “dick page – makeup artist; and james gibbs – founder of dbox
at their home – new york – march 30th 2010”, one of them says for instance. Continue reading

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Conquering New York. Or not.

I came into New York an emperor on a barge. It wasn’t the skipper who was taking the boat in, but my will to conquer, and I was almost sorry for the New York that would hav yield so completely to my demands.

Remarkable words, written by  the American author and Noble Prize laureate Sinclair Lewis in  That Was New York—And That Was Me (published in New Yorker in 1937). “However”, writes Sheldon Grebstein in his 1955 The Education of a Rebel: Sinclair Lewis at Yale, “Sinclair Lewis was never  quite at home in New York no matter how much time he spent there, even as a famous and successful writer, and his later books as well as the early ones gave ample evidence of this.” New York is hard to defeat, even by its most successful dwellers. That’s discouraging. Half a point off.

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Filed under Books to read, Fellow strangers

A lifetime of secrets

In November 2004, Frank Warren startet an art project called Postsecret.com. On this plattform he invites people to send him creatively decorated postcards bearing secrets they have never before revealed; and he shares these Postsecrets on the same plattform. The project is so successful that, in the meantime, Warren has published a couple of books full of confessions. One of them is A lifetime of secrets. In there, I found this postcard from a very homesick American in Bath, GB. “I write home telling everyone what a great time I’m having … secretly I’ve never felt so ALONE in my life”, he or she writes. Yes. I know. Half a point for a shared secret.

A lifetime of secrets. A Postsecret Book by Frank Warren, 2007, HarperCollins

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My bible

Traveling through Europe, you can still find the Bible in your hotel room. It’s probably hidden in the drawer of your bedside table. Having moved to New York, I have experienced  Bibles to come in very handy when traveling. However, my Bible doesn’t talk about the Ten Commandments or  walking on water. But it does contain rules and guidelines and helps to perform a miracle every day: surviving your struggle in New York. The Not For Tourists Guide covers it all: the subway, street maps, restaurants, hardware stores, public bathrooms, the airports, parks, sports, Zip codes, book stores, Chinatown buses, the lighting schedule of the Empire State Building, … This little black book has saved my life a million times. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Three points!

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Filed under Books to read, Tricks to know

2 express, 1 local

Living near a local subway stop drove me insane when I first came to New York. Disheartened by the long waiting times, I thought of jumping off the plattform and putting my life to an end many times–if I had had the chance to jump as far as the express track. (No trains on the local track, why bother jumping there?) Then I read the book Gebrauchsanweisung für New York by Verena Lueken. Her Instruction Manual of New York is well written, well reearched, and it contained a crucial piece of information for me: “Experience teaches you that every second express train is followed by a local one. At the latest.”

And Mrs. Luecken is right! Pay attention and you will see. I stopped contemplating suicide at once. 2 points for so much help!

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Filed under Books to read, Moving around, Tricks to know