A pleasantly gossipy volume on the personalities, places, historical spots of New York. More than a guide -- good armchair reading that skims the Brown Valentine Manuals, New Yorker profiles, newspaper celebrities, current changes in buildings, parks, etc. Stores, museums, churches, streets, well and little known, the shoreline, from the Battery to Washington Heights. Descriptive, informative, personal, through interviews and encounters and adventures. A book for the New Yorker as well as the out of towner. Does not pretend to be comprehensive, but so far, so good.