New books

… that I wish I had time to read:

1) Laurie Garrett’s first book since Betrayal of Trust (2000) is I Heard the Sirens Scream, which takes on 9/11, the anthrax attacks, and the US response to both. I’m most interested in the discussion of “the bizarre chemistry of The Plume that rose from the burning crushed World Trade center for four months.” Alanna Shaikh interviews Garrett about the book in UN Dispatch.

2) The Other Barack, though it sounds depressing.

3) The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn: Gentrification and the Search for Authenticity in Postwar New York. A review:

By 1982, Osman writes, the number of hardware stores in Park Slope was more than three times the per-capita average in the rest of the city, and surveys indicated that a majority of Park Slope residents were undertaking most improvements themselves. In the current age of multimillion-dollar brownstone sales, it’s easy to forget the more modest roots of these neighborhoods….New, politically savvy residents sometimes found common cause with local residents in lobbying for services and opposing large-scale development. In 1975, the Fort Greene Non-Profit Improvement Council was powerful enough to obtain a court injunction halting study of the construction of a new Giants Stadium on the Atlantic Terminal site. Such coalitions, however, don’t always hold together….

Sounds interesting throughout, especially now that I’ve been to Brooklyn. Yes, before this summer I had never really ventured outside of Manhattan on my few visits to New York. Also, the question of gentrification is one of those things I used to think was simple, when I first read of it. Surprisingly (or not?) it was talking through those issues in DC with several friends who are urban planners that made me realize that there generally aren’t easy answers to any question involving old and new residents and changing economic fortunes in a neighborhood.

Not #4: After reading J’s review, I think I’ll pass on Inside the Everyday Lives of Development Workers.

August

01

2011

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