New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and TransformationWednesday, Dec. 8th 6:00pm-7:00pmLive via ZOOM ~ FREE for LW! Members
Kevin Baker in conversation with award-winning urbanist Thomas Dyja on New York City’s transformation since the 1970s and the lessons it offers for the city’s future.
Dangerous, filthy, falling apart, garbage piled on its streets, yet somehow fabulous – this was New York in 1978. Over the next 30+ years, though, it became a different place: kinder and meaner, richer and poorer, higher, but less like what it had always been.
New York, New York, New York, Thomas Dyja’s sweeping account of this metamorphosis, shows it wasn’t the work of a single policy, mastermind, or economic theory, nor was it a morality tale of gentrification or crime. After brutal retrenchment came the Koch Renaissance followed by the Dinkins years that left the city’s liberal traditions battered but laid the foundation for the safe streets and dotcom excess of the Giuliani era and on to Bloomberg and DeBlasio's embrace of overdevelopment.
In his review for The New York Times Book Review, Kevin Baker writes that in Dyja’s view, New York was never dying, “and why it wasn’t — the women and men, policies and plans, trends and revolutions in everything from music to technology to public spaces to private desires that transformed it — is Dyja’s story.”
Don’t miss this fascinating conversation between Kevin Baker and Thomas Dyja (both Upper West Siders) that explores the excesses and underbelly of New York, as well as a fascinating, often surprising, study of how this great city became what it is today — for better or worse.
Thomas Dyja worked in publishing for more than a decade before becoming a writer. Along with editing four anthologies, he’s written three novels, a biography of civil rights pioneer Walter White and historical books on Chicago and New York City. He resides on the Upper West Side.
Photo credit: E.J. Camp
Kevin Baker, also an Upper West Sider, is a novelist, historian and journalist. He is a columnist and contributing editor at Harper's Magazine and has published in the New York Times, New York magazine, the Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, among other publications. His published works include several New York historical novels and he was a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow in non-fiction.
Top banner photos: NYPL Digital Collection
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