The must-have guide to pop culture, history, and world-changing ideas that started in New York City, from the magazine at the center of it all.
Since the first Dutch settlers set up shop in 1624, New York City has been a place that creates things. What began as a trading post for beaver pelts soon transformed into a hub of technological, social, and cultural innovation—but beyond fostering literal inventions like the elevator (in Cooper Union in 1853), Q-Tips (by Polish immigrant Leo Gerstenzang in 1927), General Tso's Chicken (reimagined for American tastes in the 1970s by one of its Hunanese creators), the singles bar (1965 on the Upper East Side), and Scrabble (1931 in Jackson Heights, Queens), the city has given birth to or perfected idioms, forms, and ways of thinking that have changed the world, from Abstract Expressionism, Broadway, and baseball to hip-hop, news blogs, neoconservatism, and the concept of “downtown.”
Those creations and more are all collected in The Encyclopedia of New York, a colorful A-to-Z compendium of the unexpected origin stories, hidden histories, and must-see lists from the greatest city in the world, compiled by the editors of New York magazine (a city invention itself, since 1968), and featuring contributions from top-tier contributors like Rebecca Traister, Jerry Saltz, Frank Rich, and more. Here, you will find something fascinating and uniquely New York on every page: a history of the city’s skyline, accompanied by a tour guide’s list of the best things about every visitable observation deck; the rises of positive thinking and punk music; an ode to alternate-side-of-the-street parking; the oddest object to be found at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!; musical theater next to muckraking and mugging; and, the unbelievable revelation that English muffins were created on…West Twentieth Street. Whether you are a lifelong resident, excited newcomer, or armchair traveler, this is the only guidebook you’ll need, straight from the people who know New York best.