ABOUT THIS BOOK
New York's metamorphosis from compact port to modern metropolis occurred during the mid-nineteenth century. Empire City tells the story of the dreams that inspired the changes in the landscape and the problems that eluded solution.
Author David Scobey paints a remarkable panorama of New York's uneven development, a city-building process careening between obsessive calculation and speculative excess. Envisioning a new kind of national civilization, "bourgeois urbanists" attempted to make New York the nation's preeminent city. Ultimately, they created a mosaic of grand improvements, dynamic change, and environmental disorder. Empire City sets the stories of the city's most celebrated landmarks -- Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the downtown commercial center -- within the context of this new ideal of landscape design and a politics of planned city building. Perhaps such an ambitious project for guiding growth, overcoming spatial problems, and uplifting public was bound to fail; still, it grips the imagination.