TOPIC

History

Circulation Desk

Second Chances

Recent books explore the potential in underused and overdetermined spaces, from mid-century American city centers and suburban shopping malls to the current glut of vacant retail storefronts and offices.

Cleaning Up?

Getting to Zero

Banned from residences for more than half a century, lead paint still poisons thousands of children a year in New York City. Who is responsible for ensuring healthy homes for all?

Well-Placed

Clinical Trials

A bygone experiment in community-focused mental healthcare — rooted in Harlem and the life experiences of its Black population — still holds valuable lessons for making “the good life,” and good feelings, truly accessible to all.

Alternate Routes

A new guidebook locates residents’ struggles to make and remake New York City in the image of their own needs and desires.

Arch-Conservative

Vito Battista’s journey from public architecture to right-wing politics is an echo of New York’s own cyclical, reactionary tides — and a reminder of how closely the city's politics are tied to the fate of its urban fabric.

Shelf Life

Local Frequencies

An audio archivist documents the evolution of pirate radio in Brooklyn and its place in the cultural landscapes of the borough's immigrant communities.

Unjust Treatment

The geography of methadone treatment in New York City follows familiar patterns of discrimination, while clinics subject patients to punishment, not rehabilitation. Does this one kind of medicine need its own space in the first place?

When Government Came to Main Street

The Bronx County Building embodies the New Deal era's ideals of robust government presence in everyday life, for better and worse.

Signs of Things to Come

Despite two centuries of discrimination, New York's psychics continue to make space for contacting spirits, telling fortunes, and making a future for themselves.

Memory Loss

Roots of Memory

Less conspicuous and permanent than statues or sculptures, New York City’s memorial trees register histories that are personal, passed over, or in progress, from intimate loss to climate catastrophe.