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Why do some great Broadway shows fail, and mediocre ones thrive? How does the cast onstage manage to keep tabs on the audience without missing a beat or a line? Ken Bloom, author of Show and Tell: The New Book of Broadway Audiences, delves into the inner workings of the Broadway stage and the culture surrounding Broadway hips and flops.
New York City is the midst of a housing affordability crisis. Over the last decade, average rents have climbed 15% while the income of renters has increased only 2%. The city’s renaissance since the 1990's has drawn thousands of new residents; today, the population of 8.5 million people is the highest it has ever been. But New Yorkers are finding that the benefits of city living are not without its costs. The demand for housing has outstripped the real estate community’s ability to supply it; as a result, prices have been rising.
Have You Seen My Dragon is Steve Light’s ode to city living. A boy solicits help from readers as he searches for his slithery, green dragon. The dragon hops around the city and takes readers on a counting journey. Adults and children alike will love the detailed artwork touched by bursts of color! Don’t be afraid to count along as Steve reads Have You Seen My Dragon on Read Out Loud.
KidLit TV’s Read Out Loud series is perfect for parents, teachers, and librarians. Use these readings for nap time, story time, bedtime … anytime!
Enter a fascinating, ornately drawn cityscape and help a boy find his dragon while counting objects from hot dogs to traffic lights. In the heart of the city, among the taxis and towers, a small boy travels uptown and down, searching for his friend. Readers will certainly spot the glorious beast, plus an array of big-city icons they can count. Is the dragon taking the crosstown bus, or breathing his fiery breath below a busy street? Maybe he took a taxi to the zoo or is playing with the dogs in the park. Steve Light’s masterful pen-and-ink illustrations, decorated with meticulous splashes of color, elevate this counting book (numbers 1 20) to new heights. Maybe the dragon is up there, too.
ABOUT STEVE LIGHT
Steve Light is the author and illustrator of several books for children. When he isn’t writing, he’s teaching pre-k students in New York City. Steve is a collector of fountain pens; he has more than 80. When Steve isn’t writing and illustrating he can be found creating models — some of which are inspired by his books –, or carving storybooks; wood dolls and props that fit in a box, which can be used to tell stories. Steve lives in New York City with his wife.
Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City is the second book in Will Mabbitt and by Ross Collins's superb new series and, if possible, it's even better than the first, The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones. In the first book, Mabbitt introduced our hero who is conscripted into the life of a pirate because she was caught doing THE DEED (picking her nose and eating it) and allowed to stay (despite being a girl) because she can read. The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones is a panoramic sweeping story packed with richly detailed and very imaginative characters and places. With Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City, the story becomes more personal and urgent for Mabel.
When we see Mabel again, she is in her room, scratching her armpit and staring at a "funny-looking thing, all fat and helpless. Like a beetle grub. Kind of slimy, but kind of cute, too." It's Mabel's baby sister Maggie, and mere minutes after this sweet scene of sibling love, Maggie is taken out of her room by a nasty tasting, powerful creeping vine. Mabel grabs on to the last bit of the disappearing vine and finds herself in a wardrobe in another time and place - the Noo World, specifically, the City of Dreams, a sort of post-apocalyptic, dangerous civilization built upon the remains of New York City.
Mabel in in America - and once again having an adventure in her pajamas, and this time bunny slippers as well. Once she gets her bearings, she heads off to the dwelling of Mr. Habib, a beak-collecting fortune teller who might be able to tell her where to find Maggie. Mable almost gets her nose snipped off to add to the collection, but she does get a lead and soon she in afloat again. This time, she has secured a position on a little paddle steamer, the Brown Trout, upon which she will be cruising down the Great Murky River to the Forbidden City, rumored to be under the thrall of a wicked sorceress. This expedition is being headed (and funded) by Professor Carruthers Badger-Badger, Phd and Timothy Speke, an otter who enjoys sketching and loves his damson jam. They are journeying to the Forbidden City to find a diamond the size of a gorilla's fist, seen in a faded advertisement from a magazine.
Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City finds the return of old friends, some of whom are now enemies, a flock of zombified egrets under the sway of the Witch Queen, a sunken high school full of skeleton students and the Scuttling Death, rival adventurer Sir Gideon Scapegrace and an epic climactic scene that will have you on the very edge of your seat as Mable prepares to make a huge sacrifice.
Not to fear, there will be another book in the Mabel Jones series! Without giving too much away, Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City ends with her staring out over the vast wasteland that was once New York City, picking her nose and wondering what happened to all the "hoomans."
Looking for a place to get the essentials for a Christmas Eve feast? Or perhaps you’re leaving the cooking to the professionals and you’re looking for a place to make a reservation? With the holiday season in full swing, what better way to celebrate than enjoying some of New York City’s top eats! We have compiled a list of some of the best New York City food and market spots from our latest title Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Guide to New York City. Enjoy and be merry!
Some day I'll be too old for this. This insistence (within myself/for myself) that I live each minute, see each place, feel each thing I can find my way to.
But I'm not there yet. I'm still the woman who arrives mid-afternoon to New York City, checks into a hotel with her husband, and starts to walk. This time to the Columbia University campus, which I had never seen (that old library, now the administration building, soars). To the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Past the fruit vendors on upper Broadway.
Then a subway ride to Columbus Circle and the Museum of Arts and Design (where an exquisite Wendell Castle show is in place). Then a walk-run (to the extent possible) through Times Square, and then more underground tunnels to the World Trade Center, where we were stopped by the power of those two pools, the remembered names, the roses and calla lilies left in respect and honor. Art can speak, and this art does—the down and the down of the water, the sound of that water, the return of the water, and the light behind the names.
It was the hour of the gloaming. The stone buildings burned red-orange inside the blue glass of the new tower, and that big Calatrava bird, soon to be the World Trade Center Transportation Center, was already soaring.
We walked a long length of Greenwich, then, met our son for dinner, watched him take off in an Uber for a date, made our way all the way back to 103rd Street, where all night long we listened to the trash trucks, the buses, the NYC talk just outside our window. I rose in the dark, put on a dress, and as soon as the sun was up I was walking again—finding a French bakery, buying an almond croissant, and working my way toward Central Park, where the early dog walkers were out and about and I could see the river just beyond them.
By 8:15 I was dancing with the extraordinary educator/advocator Susannah Richards in the lobby of Bank Street. Dancing, yes. I swear we danced. (Susannah is especially good at the twirls.) At Bank Street, a remarkable cast of writers, illustrators, educators, librarians, and book people were convening for what, in my book, is the best gathering of storytellers ever anywhere. Here the conversation circles around Thoughts as opposed to Marketing Platforms. The forum encourages conversation, consideration, a maybe this or a maybe that. This is hardly accidental. This reflects the good work of those who assemble this program, moderate the panels, conduct the keynote (thank you, Rita Williams-Garcia), and say yes. I bow down to you, oh Bank Street, with thanks especially to Jennifer Brown and Cynthia Weill, and then to my fellow panelists Daniel Jose Older and Tim Wynne-Jones—the three us led toward greater understanding about narrative risk by the exceptionally thoughtful questions of Vicki Smith of Kirkus Reviews. And with thanks to Chronicle Books, who said yes to the event.
When it was done, when I hugged my old and new friends goodbye, I was running again, to the subway, to the PATH, and toward my husband and son, where we walked some more, had an early dinner, and watched the lights of the World Trade Center blink on.
(Can I just thank here the little boy on the incredibly crowded train who must have read the panic of this claustrophobe on his face and said, "Miss? Do you want my seat?")
We drove home in the dark. I slept. I actually slept. The sleep of a satisfied woman.
I met Leonard Marcus three years ago, shortly after arriving in New York. An author/illustrator friend who gives wonderful kid lit parties in her small New York apartment was gracious enough to invite me to one. Thoroughly new to writing … Continue reading →
On Friday New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio met with protestors to discuss their demands for police reform after the shocking death of Eric Garner and the controversial grand jury decision that followed. The name of the activists’ organization will sound familiar to any comics fan: Justice League NYC.
That this prominent group of social justice warriors would share a name with DC Entertainment’s leading super-team is no coincidence. Just check out the group’s logo, which features two African-American superheroes flying out of New York City through a graffiti-style logo. Dig even deeper into contemporary activism’s history and we see even more connections: Ferguson protestors formed their own Justice League over the summer, a leading progressive journalist writes at JusticeLeagueTaskForce.wordpress.com, and as pretty much everyone here knows, the Occupy movement made the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes’ mask a global icon.
The role of comics in recent protests will no doubt be the subject of any number of academic papers, most of which will bear a punny coloned title like “DC Nation: From Social Relevance Comics to Social Change.” Yet before folks explore what all this means at greater length, I want to offer a quick note on how this phenomenon ties into comics’ uneasy relationship with the law.
Before Photoshop and Final Cut made it possible for anyone to transcend their innate limitations, comics offered a cheap and easy way for people to give a visible form to their wildest thoughts. They became pop culture’s analogue to law as the magic mirror of society — photos may have showed us how the other half lives, but in comics we could create the world of tomorrow, free from the strictures of budget, politics, injury, death, and the real world’s ineffective legal system. What’s more, comics also did away with the shadows and fog that even today make inquiries such as the Serial podcast so frustrating — in the comics world we know who is good, who is evil, and who will win; the big question is how good will triumph.
That sensibility is in comics’ DNA, to both good and ill effect. An unreflective transfer of the comics’ approach to seemingly intractable problems would at its most extreme result in moral nihilism, as violence becomes the standard means of removing any obstacle to achieving what is right. At the same time, the comics’ metaphorical blend of constructive critique and unbounded possibility helps explain why the social relevance comics of the 1970s weren’t as much of a break from the past as some might think. We can draw a straight line back from the O’Neil & Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow through to the Justice League, Shock SuspenStories, Captain America and Wonder Woman — and the same is true moving forward in time to today. Comics have always had the power to show us who we are and what we can be, and they are at their best when they resemble the magic mirror as ideally envisioned by Oliver Wendell Holmes – reflecting not just our own lives, but the lives of all people who have been.
To kick off the new year, the American Historical Association’s 129th Annual Meeting will take place in New York City from 2-5 January 2015. We’re thrilled to ring in the new year with 5000 historians in the city we are proud to call our US headquarters. As you finish packing your bags, we’ve put together an OUP guide to the conference, but make sure to leave room in your suitcase. We hope to meet you at our booth (#504), where we’ll be offering discounts on our titles, complimentary copies of Oxford’s journals, and demonstrations of our online resources.
James McPherson’s Battle Cry after a Quarter Century
Saturday, 3 January 2015 from 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Murray Hill Suite B, New York Hilton
Journeying into Evangelicalism: Twenty-Five Years of Traveling with Randall Balmer’s Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
Monday, 5 January 2015 from 8:30 AM-10:30 AM
Hudson Suite, New York Hilton, Fourth Floor
Buying and Selling History: Some Perspectives on the Marketplace
AHA Session 38
Friday, 2 January 2015 from 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Clinton Suite, New York Hilton, Second Floor
Chaired by Tim Bent, Executive Editor for Trade History, OUP USA
Media Training Workshop for Historians
Monday, 5 January 2015 from 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Concourse E, New York Hilton, Concourse Level
Chaired by Purdy, Director of Publicity, OUP USA
The American Historical Association Award Ceremony
Friday, 2 January 2015 from 7:30 PM-8:30 PM
Metropolitan Ballroom West (Large), Sheraton New York, Second Floor
In honor of the awards ceremony, we’re celebrating some of the winners with a reading list:
Meet the editors of two of Oxford’s online resources offering portraits of men and women whose lives have shaped American, British, and world history.
The American Historical Association has put together a wonderful guide to exploring the city. Inspired, OUP’s history team has pulled together some of our recommendations on entertainment and off-the-beaten track sites.
“I enthusiastically recommend Sleep No More, the interactive, immersive reimagining of Macbeth. It’s set in the fictional McKittrick Hotel (in actuality a five-floor warehouse made into over 100 rooms) in the early 20th century. Following Macbeth throughout his descent into madness was one of the most enthralling theatre experiences I’ve had. It’s heavy on the walking and stairs, but well worth seeing.”
— Kateri Woody, Marketing Associate, Higher Education Division
“MOMA’s exhibit on Matisse’ Cut-Outs could be one of the best exhibits I’ve seen in some time. In ill health, Matisse turned to cut-outs as his primary medium later in life. Like his paintings, Matisse masters the fine line between boldness and simplicity through shape and color. A video of the master at work shows his thoughtfulness as he designs the pieces. The wonderful exhibit draws together large and small-scale works, from his covers for jazz periodicals to his Swimming Pool, a piece he designed for his own dining room in lieu of visiting the beach, which had become too difficult. “
— Alana Podolsky, Assistant Marketing Manager for History, Academic/Trade Division
“In a city of skyscrapers, I frequently find myself craving places on a scale I can relate to, pieces of New York that feel human-sized and a part of the city’s deeper history, akin to Back Bay in Boston and Society Hill in Philadelphia. It’s easiest to find these in Greenwich Village or in parts of Brooklyn, but there are other historic places hidden in plain sight in Manhattan.
“Near OUP on 36th Street is a small enclave called Sniffen Court that I have walked past with great envy and intrigue for 18 years. A half-mews, it is a tiny, wrought iron gated community of 1860s homes that were converted from stables after the advent of the automobile. Today these ten mews homes are some of the Manhattan’s most exclusive real estate. One of the homes was listed for sale earlier this year for a mere $7.25 million. There’s artwork on the outside of several building in the mews, winged horses on one and colorful stage designs on the frieze of another, a reminder of a theater well off Broadway, the Sniffen Court Players. Sniffen Court features on the album cover of The Doors’ “Strange Days,” though whenever I peer in, it’s New York of the 19th century that I am transported to, not 1967.
“I recently had an opportunity to visit another hidden spot with theater connections that seems out of place and time in Manhattan: Pomdander Walk. Larger than Sniffen Court, this full mews runs between 94th and 95th Street, right behind Symphony Space on the Upper West Side. Built for the theater community and intended to be temporary housing, this colorful 1920s era English Tudor village is an oasis from the streets around it. Originally it was inhabited by actors, musicians, and artistic types, but to own one of the full houses on the Walk today would require more than a starving artist’s (or assistant professor’s) income. It is a little piece of Downton Abbey in the heart of Manhattan, a place where residents have long made the city a little less alienating and created a special community.
“The Big Apple Tours during the AHA will be showcasing many architectural and historic sites around the streets of NYC, but part of the joy of the city is just walking and making your own discoveries, architectural and otherwise.”
— Susan Ferber, Executive Editor for American and world history obsessed by architectural history and unusual real estate in New York, perhaps because she doesn’t own any or even live in the five boroughs
However you spend your time at AHA, we hope to see you at the OUP booth. Please stop by and say hi.
Featured image credit: View of NYC from Top of the Rock. Photo by Dschwen, CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia commons
I've been re-reading 'The Time Machine' and today feels very much like I've taken a trip back in time.
Today I scanned the negatives of the photos I took of my NYC apartment at 161 W. 78th Street back when I went to Parsons in the last century. It was so cool to recognize and revisit everything in that room. It was just like being a time traveler - I wondered at the objects I'd forgotten and remembered.
Some of the circled treasures are: my radio and toaster (that I'd hauled from Utah to Seattle and now to NYC). My cup hanging from a wire (to keep the roaches off), the mini-stove (sitting on top of the mini fridge), my tea kettle and my illustration in progress.
Everything but the bed was scrounged off the streets. You'd never guess how attached one can become to an old second hand toaster and radio.
Streetcars “are as dead as sailing ships,” said Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in a radio speech, two days before Madison Avenue’s streetcars yielded to buses. Throughout history, New York City’s mayors have devoted much time and energy to making the transit system as efficient as possible, and able to sustain the City’s growing population. The history of New York’s transit system is a mix of well-remembered, partially forgotten, and totally obscure happenings that illustrate the grit, chaos, and emotion of the five boroughs at different points in history.
In November 1967, work was completed on a significant new subway under Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. Above, work proceeds on the new Grand Street Station, a part of the project. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
A BMT car in 1940
In June 1940, New York City’s government purchased two privately owned subway companies, one of which was the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corp. (BMT). Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
An IRT car in 1940
The other subway company purchased by the city in 1940 was the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). BMT and IRT were unified with the Independent Subway System to form one giant system. The NYC Board of Transportation operated the entire system. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
BMT Brooklyn trolleys in 1940
Subway unification also included the BMT’s very large trolley and bus system. Pictured here is Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
9th Avenue El in 1940
As soon as unification occurred, some elevated lines in Manhattan and Brooklyn were closed and razed. This is Manhattan’s 9th Avenue Elevated at 110th Street, shortly before it went out of service. The double decker bus shown operated until 1953. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
NYC Board of Transportation bus, 1941
Mayor LaGuardia replaced a number of Brooklyn trolley routes with buses in 1941. Above is one of those new buses at Fulton Street. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
Third Avenue elevated closes
In May 1955, Manhattan’s Third Avenue Elevated made its final run and the structure was soon removed. Pictured is a southbound express train charging through 34th Street Station. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
The "nickel ride" ends in 1948
The historic 5¢ fare ended on July 1, 1948, when the subway fare was raised to 10¢. Bus and trolley fare was 7¢ while riders outside of Manhattan paid 12¢ to ride a combination of the subway and buses. Photo credit: Andrew J. Sparberg
New IRT subway car, 1957
Beginning in 1955, large numbers of new subway cars appeared. Above is a R21 IRT car on the #1 Broadway line. It’s shown at the 240th Street Yard in the Bronx. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
Transit strike, 1966
In January 1966, a twelve day citywide transit strike occurred, beginning on the first day mayor John Lindsay took office. Above, pickets are seen at the 207th Street and Broadway subway station. Photo credit: TWU Local 100 Archives
IRT West Side Line is rebuilt, 1957-‘59
In 1957-‘59, the Transit Authority rebuilt seven stations on the IRT West Side Line (todays 1, 2, and 3 trains) to accommodate 10 car trains. Shown above is 96th Street before it was modified, showing the separate local platforms that were closed in 1959. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
R42 car fleet ordered, 1968
On March 1, 1968, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) became the parent body for the New York City Transit Authority, an arrangement which continues today. The first subway cars the new agency ordered were the R42 class; the R42 was the first car class 100% equipped with A/C. About 50 R42s are still in service in 2015. Photo credit: New York Transit Museum.
Heading image: New IRT subway car, 1957. New York Transit Museum. Used with permission.
written by Claudia Tapper with Geoff Rodkey Little, Brown and Company 4/07/2015 978-0-316-29779-0 236 pages Age 8—12
“This brand-new series by a popular screenwriter is a pitch-perfect, contemporary comedy featuring twelve-year-old fraternal twins, Claudia and Reese, who couldn’t be more different…except in their determination to come out on top in a vicious prank war! But when the competition escalates into an all-out battle that’s fought from the cafeteria of their New York City private school all the way to the fictional universe of an online video game, the twins have to decide if their efforts to destroy each other are worth the price.
“Told as a colorful “oral history” by the twins and their friends, and including photos, screenshots, chat logs, online gaming digital art, and text messages between their clueless parents, The Tapper Twins is a hilariously authentic showcase of what it’s like to be in middle school in our digitally-saturated world.”[publisher]
Review Claudia and Reese, age 12, twins, are at war, with each other. Who started the war depends on whom you ask, Claudia or Reese. They cannot agree on anything. Claudia decides, after the war is over, to document what happened. She writes using all at her disposal, including photos, interviews, online screenshots, and her mostly-absent parents’ phone text messages. I love her description of her and Reese,
“We are, unfortunately, twins. I am twelve years old. Reese is six.”
Reese interjects whenever he can. Like any war, it starts when one side (Reese), accuses the other side (Claudia), of doing something wrong (farting in the sixth-grade cafeteria), which harms others (a few sixth-grade princess sensibilities, many noses, and Jens—Claudia’s secret crush). Embarrassed and angry at such a terrible accusation—she claims innocence—Claudia is out for revenge. The War has begun.
Claudia tries several ways of embarrassing her brother, but Reese does not embarrass easily. Claudia begins by placing a large, dead, stinky fish in Reese’s backpack, but even after several days, and others complaining of the awful smell, Reese doesn’t notice. When he learns of the fish, he fires back. Then Claudia returns his fire, and back-and-forth, until someone is tragically hurt. The fighting is both online and off for some digital-age humor. Claudia also allows others to comment in her “Officially True History of the War between the Trapper Twins (Claudia and Reese).” These interjections into Claudia’s history of war help the story gel into a humorous middle school tale. Readers meet Claudia’s secret Norwegian crush (Jens), the twins’ Upper East Side private school friends, the snobby Princesses, and the twin’s parents.
Rodkey, who wrote the excellent Chronicles of Egg series (reviewed here: bk1, bk2, bk3), knows his readers well and understands how siblings fight. I loved the first book of this new series, which delves into cyberbullying as part of the twins’ fighting. Even though Claudia writes the history, she comes off as the antagonist, rather than the victim she sees herself to be, making it easy to favor Reese. Still, the sibling fighting feels natural, not forced. That the twins are more alike than they believe and never really lose their sibling-love is also true to form. If you have siblings, you just might recognize yourself in either Claudia or Reese.
The Trapper Twins will have readers laughing, happily rolling their eyes, and smiling throughout its witty story. Those who like the Dork series, or the Aldo Zelnick Alphabet Novels (example here), will love The Trapper Twins even more. The Trapper Twins series continues this September with book 2: The Trapper Twins Tear Up New York. The prologue and first chapter are at the back of this book to give you a taste of the next. I cannot wait to continue this series. I love Rodkey’s writing and his wit.
It’s that time of year again! Summer concerts are warming up and festivals are in full swing. Cities around the world are putting on some of the best shows for locals and tourists to enjoy. Check out what concerts Oxford University Press employees love attending every year. You just might stumble upon your new favorite band.
So Walter White; Loras Tyrell; and Obara Sand, daughter of Oberyn Martell, walk into a bar. The bartender asks, “who do you fight for?” ReedPOP just announced a bunch of new guests for New York Comic Con 2015. On the filmed media front, fans will get to lovingly gaze upon Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, Marvel writer […]
The OUP Philosophy team have selected Hannah Arendt (4 October 1906- 4 December 1975) as their September Philosopher of the Month. Born into a Jewish German family, Arendt was widely known for her contributions to the field of political theory, writing on the nature of totalitarian states, as well as the resulting byproducts of violence and revolution.
This September, the OUP Philosophy team have chosen Hannah Arendt as their Philosopher of the Month. Hannah Arendt was a German political theorist and philosopher best known for coining the term “the banality of evil.” She was also the author of various influential political philosophy books.
While it has a prominent location on 77th Street facing Central Park West, the New-York Historical Society is one of the overlooked gems among New York City Museums. It might be because of that “natural history” museum up the street. Or maybe it’s because history isn’t that popular here in New York City. (Across the […]