Just when I've pretty much decided that London is the city for me, along comes a book like New York Skyscrapers (by Dirk Stichweh)and makes me realize that I've been a fickle lover. Oh, New York, you're still my only one--will you still have me?
I really loved this book. For one thing, it's oversized, and I love oversized books (now that I no longer work in a library, and I don't have to bitch and swear about shelving them). Any book of photography about New York City really needs to be an oversized book; it's particularly necessary when you're trying to do credit to its skyscrapers.* In this collection are photographs, histories, and facts about seventy-nine of the city's best known high-rise buildings, including the years when they were completed, their architects, and their height. The photographs, done by Jorg Machirus and Scott Murphy, are universally beautiful, and I'm getting just old enough to appreciate that even the text in this book is slightly larger than typical. And, in addition to the rather straightforward historical and arhictectural information, you get very readable tidbits like this:
"The unusual ground plan of the [Flatiron] building makes for a lack of standardized office spaces, but at the same time almost every office unit admits daylight." (p. 67.)
I was impressed by that, because who doesn't like to work where there's some daylight? Kudos to Daniel Burnham, the designer of the Flatiron Building, on that one. So if you need some New York eye candy, after checking out Stacy Horn's blog for her near daily New York pictures, you should definitely pick up this book.
*The cover of this book, featuring a rather standard shot of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler building, doesn't really reflect the many aerial and atypical (but beautiful) angles used for the photography of the seventy-nine buildings profiled.