New Yorkers especially will delight in this eye-opening book of commonplace wonders in Central Park -- the most frequently visited and famous in the nation -- with its surprisingly diverse wildlife and other resident marvels fight in the middle of a concrete and glass sarcophagus. The tone here is just right, not souped-up brilliance but a kind of random, sidelong knowledgeability (much of this first appeared in The New Yorker). Several sketches go beyond New York, particularly a study of bioluminescent life forms, looks at the sites of meteorite landings around the globe, and a piece on freak rainfalls in the East when water runs an inch deep on windowpanes. Another nice bit is about the city's conservation officer (the Manhattan Game Warden!) who inspects edible local sealife for legal size, looks out for foundling creatures and protected species, monitors pet shops and so on. Great work if you could get it -- which goes for the author, too, his magazine's resident naturalist.