NY is for New York: A Picture Book Review

NY is for New York (2017) by Paul Thurlby is incredibly charming. Part guidebook and part alphabet book, NY is for New York offers readers a tourist’s view of the city that never sleeps from A (the American Museum of Natural History) to Z (the Bronx Zoo) with some stops along the way with trivia (Radio City Music Hall has the largest stage curtain in the world) and other sites like the art deco beauty that is the Chrysler Building.

I grew up in Manhattan and still live in the West Village (which isn’t actually just “Greenwich Village” as this book calls it) and love all the choices made here with what to include. Thurlby starts the book with a map that even highlights some of the city’s most iconic bookstores like The Strand.

Despite some efforts to include other sites–Brooklyn Bridge, Queens (yes, the entire borough), the Bronx Zoo–this book remains a largely Manhattan-centric look at New York City. Staten Island isn’t mentioned at all and other choices feel like a reach (Downtown for D, NY stock eXchange for X).

The choice to include Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree is also interesting. I don’t mind it per se and it is a big part of life in New York City–especially around the holidays but it also felt glaring given the lack of any other holiday attractions (not to mention of any non-Christmas attractions).

Thurlby’s artwork is charming (and as diverse and inclusive as readers would expect for a modern urban city) with bold lines and bright colors that bring to mind vintage postcards or travel posters.

NY is for New York is an obvious choice for anyone looking for a more up to date version of Miroslav Sasek‘s 1960 classic This is New York. A great gift for the New Yorkers (or NY tourists) in your life.

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