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New York City

An Outsider's Inside View

Mario Maffi

“This is a book which draws from the most up-to-date work on the city, and from a vast knowledge of the research and past of New York to present a volume that can be used both in academic environments and as a guide to the city itself, beyond the traditional tourist trails that attract so many visitors every year. New York is a city that is best seen on foot, and Maffi’s account allows the interested tourist to do just that.” — J. M. Foot, University College of London

“This is a fascinating book. Maffi, an Italian who has deep knowledge of and affection for New York City, takes the reader on a walking tour that asks us to rethink the meaning of the spaces and places of the city. Rather than sensationalizing the city as others have done, Maffi presents us with the city as it is and asks us to see it and appreciate its blemishes and merits alike.” —Maureen Flanagan, Michigan State University

How is it possible to approach a city like New York without falling back on old stereotypes, glossy pictures, and touristy routes? Is it possible without writing yet another “guide to the city”? Against all odds, New York City: An Outsider’s Inside View looks at the city with the informed eye of a historian and the innocent eye of an outsider ready and willing to catch the city off-guard. It is organized to lead the reader along paths that stay clear of the well-trodden ones. Mario Maffi treats his readers to new maps of an ever-present city, dotted with small museums; unknown underworlds; sounds, images, and words; villages in the city; bridges both real and metaphorical; the hidden or overlooked history; the past in the present. New York’s prismatic quality is enhanced by a narration that flows in a conversational style, is arranged around a highly personal point of view, and is sustained by a neat historical and cultural approach. New York City: An Outsider’s Inside View is more than a guide yet different from an essay—it is nothing short of an affectionate and nuanced portrait of a city in words.

Mario Maffi is associate professor of American studies at the State University of Milan, Italy, and the author of Gateway to the Promised Land: Ethnic Cultures on New York’s Lower East Side.

Mar 2004
Urban studies, Travel
192 pp. 6x9

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