Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New Yorkers by James and Michelle Nevius

FootprintsinNYNew York City tour guides and authors James and Michelle Nevius explore the stories of 20 iconic New Yorkers, from Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant to Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, park architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux to business titans JP Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, Jr, and use them to guide the reader through four centuries of the city’s history.

Beginning with the oldest standing building in the city, a 1652 farmhouse in Brooklyn, all the way to the post-war city as seen through the lens of director Martin Scorsese, and beyond into the NYC’s multi-cultural present, the book literally follows in the footsteps of these iconic New Yorkers, tracing the development of the city from a ramshackle trading post to the center of American finance, art, media, tourism, architecture, and more.

One part history and one part personal narrative, the book tells the story of the city from the point of view of two experts, with NYC ancestry, who traverse its streets with an eye to detail. What does an archaeological ruin tell us about the War of 1812? How is Tavern on the Green really a reminder of Boss Tweed’s era of graft? Did Robert Moses have the biggest influence on twentieth century New York, or was it J.D. Rockefeller?

By journeying back in time to see the city as it was built and transformed by these famous figures, the book creates a different way of looking at the past, exploring new connections and forgotten chapters in the story of America’s greatest metropolis.