Four Streets and a Square: A History of Manhattan and the New York Idea
author: Marc Aronson
A veteran nonfiction storyteller dives deep into the four-hundred-year history of Manhattan to map the island’s unexpected intersections. Focusing on the evolution of four streets and a square (Wall Street, 42nd Street, West 4th Street, 125th Street, and Union Square) Marc Aronson explores how new ideas and forms of art evolved from social blending. Centuries of conflict—among original Americans and Europeans, slavers and the enslaved, rich and poor, immigrants and native-born—produced segregation, oppression, and violence, but also new ways of speaking, singing, and being American. From the Harlem Renaissance to Hammerstein, from gay pride in the Village to political clashes at Tammany Hall, this clear-eyed pageant of the island’s joys and struggles—enhanced with photos and drawings, multimedia links to music and film, and an extensive bibliography and source notes—is, above all, a love song to Manhattan’s triumphs.
From a Sibert Medalist comes the epic story of Manhattan—a magical, maddening island “for all” and a microcosm of America.