CITY LIVES by James Wagenvoord


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Fashioned from the most everyday, ordinary realities of urban existence, this leaves you with the uneasy feeling that it could have been written by just about anyone. Writer-photographer Wagenvoord went around peering at cityscapes, looking for ""neighborhoods."" Letting the ""barrage"" overwhelm him, he talked to the denizens of all kinds of New York neighborhoods: welfare, Italian working-class, the Projects, the co-ops, the upwardly mobile enclaves, blocks where the last Irish and Italians disdain the coming ""colored"" and Puerto Ricans. On Rosie's stoop, in the Guyamo social club, in the poolhall, on the roof, in the cloistered urban garden--he let people talk to him about how things are getting worse (or better), how the politicians don't give a damn, how the muggings have been exaggerated in the papers, how the kids don't learn in school because they're scared to death. There are as many scenarios and truths as there are people. But amid all cacophonous voices Wagenvoord detects ""the sound of nerve and hope."" It's meant to be an up book. Life goes on. The text is meandering, inchoate; the pictures not redeemingly sharp or revealing.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1976
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston