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Central Park: An Anthologyby Andrew Blauner
Synopses & Reviews
A wild night outdoors with Bill Buford. A football tradition with Nathaniel Rich. A jog around the reservoir with Mark Helprin as he "protects" Jacqueline Onassis from imagined harm. The 843 carefully planned acres of Central Park have not only crept into the hearts of its 38 million annual visitors, but also into the life and work of a diverse array of writers who come to revel in its natural remedy for urban chaos.
In Central Park, a dozen exclusive pieces commissioned especially for this book are accompanied by a handful of beloved classics. Francine Prose reflects on open-air performances by Nina Simone and James Brown; Jonathan Safran Foer writes a creation myth of the park; Buzz Bissinger meditates on how the park defined his early life; and Marie Winn definitively answers Holden Caulfields question of where the ducks go when the ponds freeze over.
This vibrant collection presents Central Park in all its diverse glory, with an ode on every page to a fifty-one-block swath of special New York magic. A must-read for the thousands who consider the park their own, and a keepsake for the many more who visit, it will be a standard for years to come.
"'In a city where people can live sixty-three thousand to a square mile,' Central Park is an escape, adventure, meditation, memory, and amusement, and this anthology, comprising the work of some of New York's literary luminaries, is a charming 21-essay tribute to what 'is probably the most closely watched and monitored 843 acres on Earth.' Marie Winn pens a funny letter to Holden Caulfield about what happens to the park's ducks in winter; Bill Buford tries sleeping there one night; and Nathaniel Rich gives the sentimental history of an annual Thanksgiving touch-football game (the 'Turkey-Lurkey Bowl'). Others — Susan Cheever, Colson Whitehead, Adam Gopnik, and Paul Auster among them — fish for carp, run past Jackie Kennedy, befriend goats at the zoo, and explore the place 'where nature is so beautifully and spectacularly kept on a leash.' But it wasn't always so: the masterpiece of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux was, at times, a 'municipal embarrassment,' the site of muggings, murders, and — rumor had it — 'a nightmarish water fountain that dribbled raw sewage into the mouths of toddlers.' It's clear, by the collection's range, that there must be at least as many Central Parks as there are annual visitors — and that's close to 40 million. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Central Park is perhaps the most well-trod and familiar green space in the county. It is both a refuge from the city and Manhattan's very heart; a respite from the urban grind and a hive of activity all its own. 843 carefully planned acres allow some 37 million visitors each year to come and get lost in a sense of nature. Unsurprisingly, the park also inspires a wealth of great writing, and here Andrew Blauner collects some of the finest fiction and nonfiction-- 20 pieces in all, with classics sprinkled among 13 new ones commissioned from great New York writers. Bill Buford spends a wild night in the park; Jonathan Safran Foer envisions it as a tiny, transplanted piece of a mythical Sixth Borough; and Marie Winn answers definitively Holden Caulfield's question of where the ducks go when the park's ponds freeze over. There are bird sightings and fish sightings; Jackie Kennedy and James Brown sightings; and pieces by Colson Whitehead, Paul Auster, and Francine Prose. This vibrant collection presents Central Park, in all its many-faceted glory, a 51-block swath of special magic.
About the Author
Andrew Blauner is the founder of Blauner Books Literary Agency. He is the editor of two previous anthologies, Coach, with over fifty thousand copies sold, and Brothers, a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Award. He is also the co-editor of Anatomy of Baseball. Blauner graduated from Collegiate School, Brown University and Columbia Business School, and he is a member of PEN and the National Book Critics Circle. He grew up, and has lived most of his life, within two blocks of Central Park.Adrian Benepe has worked for more than thirty-two years protecting and enhancing New York City's natural and historic beauty. He has continued this effort as commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002.
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