A wonderful town

While it's true to say that no two cities are alike, it's equally safe to state there is nowhere quite so unique as New York. Shanghai and Singapore might be racing ahead in the skyscraper stakes. Pan’s will always be queen of people's hearts. but for sheer emotional connection; for a certain kind of history, romance and splendour, the Big Apple - worms and all - retains an almost mythic resonance.

Think about it: Gene Kelly. the Chrysler Building, Leonard Bernstein, fire hydrants, Taxi Driver, Central Park, yellow cabs, William Burroughs, Birdland, the Staten island Ferr . . . we could go on. There's no need to do so, however, as the definitive reference work on the city has been produced.

Compiled over the course of a decade, with input from almost 700 authors contributing almost 7000 entries, The Encyclopedia Of New York City is a stunning volume. It spans the city's development from pre-history through to the present day. Entries cover everything from geology and plant life through to the built environment; from socioopolitical history through to the arts and mass culture; from heroes to villains, disasters to triumphs. If you

look hard enough, there's probably a reference to kitchen sinks in there. somewhere.

This is a delight of a book, for both reference use and casual browsing. perfect for a lazy fireside session in the armchair. The reader can lose hours simply flicking through this work and stumbling across entries both familiar

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occasional errors (Bob Dylan didn't


take his surname in honour of Dylan Thomas) and omissions (Where's Frank? Where is Frank Sinatra?!!), such quibbles are nit-picking to say the least.

Leaving this wondorous tome, one is filled with high hopes for the Distant Host CD-ROM guide to the city. This, however, turns out to be a static, lifeless production. utilising some less than thrilling still images and some animated montage segments which are less than that, in an attempt to graphically illustrate the city. Billing itselfas a guide to ‘the New York of

For a certain kind of history, romance and splendour, the Big Apple - worms and all - retains an almost mythic resonance.

yesterday and today', it is, in fact, neither. Smacking of cheapness, the disc completely lacks any of the care, thought and intelligence so evident in the book, and has roughly as much feel to it as the plastic case it comes packaged in.

lfand when the team behind the encyclopedia gets around to fully exploiting the possibilities of CD-ROM technology, something fantastic could result. in the meantime, save electricity. (Damien Love)

and arcane, soaking up the city’s ambience it comes pouring off the pages, rather like wandering the streets of the place itself and gawping at the vistas unfolding before you. The individual submissions range from twenty-word sketches through to 6000- word essays and. while there are i

i The Encyclopedia of New York City.

edited by Kenneth 7? Jackson. is published by Yale University Press at £40. Distant Host, New York is on CD- ROM , produced by Aborescence.

‘Quite the most frightening novel

you’ll read this year...

...just in time to

haunt your Christmas

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