Alice Sparberg Alexiou
Devil’s Mile – The Rich, Gritty History of the Bowery
St. Martin’s Press
New York historian and urbanist commentator Alice Sparberg Alexiou tackles the Bowery, one of the city’s most fluid and dramatically changing areas. Starting from the pre-Dutch days, she layers history onto geology, tracing the area’s transformation from farmland to business property to riotous redlight district, then downward into “New York’s dumping ground” for addicts and other forgotten souls. That’s all gone now, and the district has been overlaid with gentrification—hipster bars, hotels and stratospherically expensive lofts. Whether that’s an improvement, she says, remains to be seen. Essential reading for New York buffs and anyone interested in city planning.