NEW YORK CITY STREET SMARTS by Saul Miller

NEW YORK CITY STREET SMARTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A ""New Yorker's New York"" for out-of-towners--on the tired premise that there's more to the burg than the World Trade Center or the Empire State. But attorney/author Miller (After Law School?, Super Traveler) doesn't get beyond the next, embattled-schools/ethnic-diversity level of clichÉs. His remarks on aspects of New York life, which comprise the book's first half, manage to miss the mark regularly. On politics, he says the city is liberal, not Democratic--which doesn't explain Pat Moynihan or Ed Koch. (He also says liberals don't run as Republicans--after mentioning Lindsay and Javits, and without mentioning La Guardia.) To build up the crime problem, he writes that New York's policemen--""and who should know better?--won't even live here."" He's already spoken, however, of middle-class flight. In Paris or London, he seems to think, visitors stay outside the city--so why no hotels outside Manhattan? New York museum-goers, he believes, don't get to the International Center of Photography or Cooper-Hewitt--they leave them to tourists. The list of errata could go on and on. The second half of the book, a rundown on city neighborhoods, dispenses some local color, identifies some local landmarks, proffers more misinformation. East 57th Street is said to be ""the most international, jet-setty strip in New York. . . lined with French and Italian boutiques, French restaurants, and scores of art galleries."" It hasn't been ""the gallery block, even more than Madison Avenue or Soho,"" for two decades or so; there are far more French and Italian shops on both Madison and Fifth; there's not a single restaurant, French or otherwise, on the stretch Miller has in mind (and hasn't been for aeons). For some genuine New York flavor, and some bona fide discoveries, see of late James Stevenson's Uptown Local, Downtown Express (p. 296); for getting around, get an honest-to-goodness guide.

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 1983
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston