Synopses & Reviews
Read any history of New York City and you will read about men. You will read about men who were political leaders and men who were activists and cultural tastemakers. These men have been lauded for generations for creating the most exciting and influential city in the world.
But that’s not the whole story.
The Women Who Made New York reveals the untold stories of the phenomenal women who made New York City the cultural epicenter of the world. Many were revolutionaries and activists, like Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde. Others were icons and iconoclasts, like Fran Lebowitz and Grace Jones. There were also women who led quieter private lives but were just as influential, such as Emily Warren Roebling, who completed the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her engineer husband became too ill to work.
Paired with striking, contemporary illustrations by artist Hallie Heald, The Women Who Made New York offers a visual sensation — one that reinvigorates not just New York City’s history but its very identity.
"How can we begin to contemplate New York's history without including the women who helped build it? Julie Scelfo makes clear that without the contributions of some famous and not-so-famous women, the city would not exist as we know it. Taken together, these brief biographies reveal a dynamism and diversity as rich as New York City itself."
Valerie Paley, Chief Historian and Director of the Center for Women's History at the New-York Historical Society"
"A welcome antidote to male-centered history, The Women Who Made New York should be taught in every New York high school. I long for the day when books like this become unnecessary." David Byrne, award-winning composer, songwriter, singer, and author, best known for being the frontman of the seminal NYC New Wave/punk band Talking Heads
"Julie Scelfo has produced a must-read for anyone who loves New York, filling every page with fresh stories and great details about the fascinating and important women we all should know, but don't. Now I'm no longer embarrassed by my ignorance of the REAL history of the city. This book filled that huge gap."
Jonathan Alter, New York Times bestselling author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies
"Finally in Julie Scelfo's brilliant collection of portraits and vignettes, the Town Mothers of NYC loom as large as the Town Fathers, often towering over them. Edith Wharton, Margaret Sanger, Billie Holiday, Diana Vreeland, Zora Neale Hurston, and so many more. This is a book that you ll want to keep on your shelf and pass along to the next generation."
Teresa Carpenter, Pulitzer Prize-winner and bestselling author of New York Diaries 1609-2009
About the Author
Julie Scelfo is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, where her stories about how we live routinely appear on the Times’ most e-mailed list. Prior to joining the Times in 2007, Scelfo was a correspondent at Newsweek, where she covered breaking news and wrote about society and human behavior. She covered the events of September 11, 2001, live from lower Manhattan, and then reported extensively on the attack’s environmental and emotional aftermath. Scelfo lives with her family in New York City, where she rides a push-scooter to ease travel back and forth between neighborhoods. She is a member of PEN America, a supporter of Narrative 4, and believes radical empathy is where it’s at.
Hallie Heald is a freelance illustrator and stylist living and working in New York City. She’s worked as an intern for NY designer Nanette Lepore, was an assistant designer and stylist making faux leather handbags, and has been a face painter for fancy birthday parties in Santa Barbara.