AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.)

by Norval White, Elliot Willensky, Fran Leadon

Hailed as "extraordinarily learned" (New York Times), "blithe in spirit and unerring in vision," (New York Magazine), and the "definitive record of New York's architectural heritage" (Municipal Art Society), Norval White and Elliot Willensky's book is an essential reference for everyone with an interest in architecture and those who simply want to know more about New York City.First published in 1968, the AIA Guide to New York City has long been the definitive guide to the city's architecture. Moving through all five boroughs, neighborhood by neighborhood, it offers the most complete overview of New York's significant places, past and present. The Fifth Edition continues to include places of historical importance--including extensive coverage of the World Trade Center site--while also taking full account of the construction boom of the past 10 years, a boom that has given rise to an unprecedented number of new buildings by such architects as Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, and Renzo Piano. All of the buildings included in the Fourth Edition have been revisited and re-photographed and much of the commentary has been re-written, and coverage of the outer boroughs--particularly Brooklyn--has been expanded.Famed skyscrapers and historic landmarks are detailed, but so, too, are firehouses, parks, churches, parking garages, monuments, and bridges. Boasting more than 3000 new photographs, 100 enhanced maps, and thousands of short and spirited entries, the guide is arranged geographically by borough, with each borough divided into sectors and then into neighborhood. Extensive commentaries describe the character of the divisions.Knowledgeable, playful, and beautifully illustrated, here is the ultimate guided tour of New York's architectural treasures.Acclaim for earlier editions of the AIA Guide to New York City:"An extraordinarily learned, personable exegesis of our metropolis. No other American or, for that matter, world city can boast so definitive a one-volume guide to its built environment."-- Philip Lopate, New York Times"Blithe in spirit and unerring in vision."-- New York Magazine"A definitive record of New York's architectural heritage... witty and helpful pocketful which serves as arbiter of architects, Baedeker for boulevardiers, catalog for the curious, primer for preservationists, and sourcebook to students. For all who seek to know of New York, it is here. No home should be without a copy."-- Municipal Art Society"There are two reasons the guide has entered the pantheon of New York books. One is its encyclopedic nature, and the other is its inimitable style--'smart, vivid, funny and opinionated' as the architectural historian Christopher Gray once summed it up in pithy W & W fashion."-- Constance Rosenblum, New York Times"A book for architectural gourmands and gastronomic gourmets."-- The Village Voice

  • Oxford University Press; June 2010
  • ISBN: 9780199758647
  • Edition: 5
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: AIA Guide to New York City
  • Author: Norval White; Elliot Willensky; Fran Leadon
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"Covering each borough almost block by block, building by building, it is an extraordinarily learned, personable exegesis of our metropolis. No other American or, for that matter, world city can boast so definitive a one-volume guide to its built environment....The AIA Guide to New York City sees that what matters about buildings is not solely their window treatment or spandrels, but the life lived in and through them. THe best city architecture is that which makes possible the world of the street." Phillip Lapote, The New York Times
"Blithe in spirit and unerring in vision."New York Magazine
"An architect's romp through five boroughs."The Daily Record, New Jersey
"A book for architectural gourmands and gastronomic gourmets."The Village Voice
"Over its more than four decades of existence, the guide has evolved into a New York institution, as much a city fixture among a certain crowd as Fourth of July fireworks over the East River."--Constance Rosenblum, New York Times
"Reading [the AIA GUDIE] is a joy, and one immediately sees how anyone--the feverish real-estate broker, the stunned tourist, or the pontificating college historian--would love it."--Thessaly La Force, newyorker.com
"Today in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, 20 people aimed cameras at a three-story row house, snapped photos, and cheered. Part of the reason for their excitement may have been that the building was once the home of Jane Jacobs, the writer and activist. More likely, though, is that the picture-taking session marked the official end of the lengthy research phase for the fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City, the wryly written block-by-block directory of landmarks that's become an essential reference for architects, planners, and developers, as well as residents."--C.J. Hughes, Architectural Record
"The new guide, readers will be pleased to know, is a vast improvement over its predecessor, beginning with a redesigned retro-'70s cover that replaces the widely loathed faux-metal version of the fourth edition. The new book is also trimmer than its predecessor, though its content is greatly expanded, thanks to a shift to a two-column page layout. A team of writers, led by White and Fran Leadon, has done extraordinary work combing the city, and not just Manhattan, adding entries for new buildings and providing 'necrologies' for the dearly departed."--Architect Magazine
"Indeed, the AIA Guide is perhaps the finest-grained study of New York's built environment that exists, a guide in which no Italianate cornice, no Art Nouveau balustrade, no limestone carving or postmodern tempietto seems to go unremarked."--Wall Street Journal
"While the majority of the book celebrates the good, the AIA Guide is at its most entertaining when applying its witty and pithy critiques to things considered by the authors to be crapitechture."--Curbed.com
"The AIA Guide to New York City is an indispensable book that new readers will cherish . . . In fact, it is likely the most comprehensive guide to any city's buildings. The sheer volume of pictures and capsule discussions of building design and histories is one of the great publishing achievements of our time . . . Nobody should leave home for NYC without this book."--BeyondChron.com
"The AIA GUIDE is a 1,055-page love letter to the city. It obsessively details the greatness of well-known neighborhoods, while luring the reader to bucolic corners of Staten Island and the hidden Art Deco grandeur of the Bronx."--Bloomberg News
"A book that belongs in every New Yorker's library."--Dwight Garner, New York Times


About The Author

Norval White is Professor Emeritus, School of Architecture, City College of New York. His architectural designs include the New York City Police Headquarters, among many other buildings. He is the author of The Architecture Book and New York: A Physical History.Elliot Willensky (d. 1990) was Vice Chairman of New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission and the author of When Brooklyn Was the World.Fran Leadon is a registered architect and teaches at the School of Architecture, City College of New York.