The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City by William Helmreich and Baghdad: The City in Verse edited by Reuven Snir reviewed by Nathaniel Popkin • Cleaver Magazine
THE NEW YORK NOBODY KNOWS: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City by William Helmreich Princeton University Press, 449 pages BAGHDAD: THE CITY IN VERSE edited by Reuven Snir Harvard University Press, 339 pages reviewed by Nathaniel Popkin Writers, this one included, have long struggled to capture in words the dynamic and multi-layered ways that cities change. Cities themselves are powerful change agents in the wider world, but they are defined and redefined constantly by the evolving tastes and desires of their residents (who themselves are always changing), technology, culture and religion, structural political and economic shifts, and the feedback loop of history and history-telling, characterized through myth, poetry, and mass media. Here’s how I try to make sense of it in Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books): Think of the city as a collection of swarming cells that change, adapt, grow, shrink, and grow simultaneously. Imagine hundreds … chop! chop! read more!