In I Never Knew That About New York, Christopher Winn digs beneath the gleaming towers and mean streets of New York and discovers its secrets and its hidden treasures.
Learn about the extraordinary people who built New York into one of the world's great cities in just 400 years. New York is one of the most photographed and talked about cities in the world, but Winn unearths much that is unexpected and unremembered in this fast-moving, ever-changing metropolis where history is made on a daily basis!
Christopher Winn's first book was the best-selling I Never Knew That About England. Volumes on Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and London followed, and he has recently published books on the English, Scottish, and Irish alongside an illustrated edition of I Never Knew That About England.
A freelance writer and collector of trivia for over 20 years, he has worked with Terry Wogan and Jonathan Ross and sets quiz questions for television as well as for The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph. He is also the associate producer for a TV series by ITV on Great Britain, airing in 2014.
"Comprehensive, fascinating, and thoughtfully laid out, this is a great read for the armchair tourist and pavement pounder alike." (The Library Journal)
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It will possibly be an acquired taste on audio ...
Yes, possibly. If I revisit NYC, to enable me to plan walks/some more unusual places to visit.
Yes, but probably in book form and not audio format. See additional comments below re this type of book translating to audio.
No - this is my first, and I really like him.
Due to the nature of the book (quite fast moving, because it's almost a tour guide and does almost evolve into a walking guide later on), it doesn't really stay on a subject long enough to be able to move you. But the sudden description that part of NYC was discovered to be an African burial ground in the old slave area of the city was very moving.
I bought this in audio format because I thought it would be different to the usual 'Tour of NYC' guides and would be full of interesting facts about the history of New York. It most definitely contains lots of interesting facts, but I don't know that it works in audio format. It does drop back into the format of a walking guide in parts (including 'walk to the end of 'x' Street, turn right and stop outside ...') but I don't even know that it would work as an audio touring guide, because even if you stopped the recording to be able to walk you'd arrive at the destination to simply have a couple of seconds of 'fact'.
But what I found INCREDIBLY successful, however, was to listen to it whilst using Google maps and using Street View. Then, this takes on a completely different slant. Whilst talking about Tribeca and mentioning Robert De Niro's Tribeca Grill, I followed Google Street View, then stopped the recording and also followed Google Search finding out as a result a lot more detail on the redevelopment of Tribeca and had a good look around the area again on Street View. The same when the book talks about the Old Police Headquarters at 240 Centre Street, I took time out to research what the interiors now look like because the building did fascinate me when in NYC in person..
And it's as a result of this way of doing things that I've lifted my Overall grading to four stars. I'd visited NYC and knew Manhattan quite well, but I would imagine if you hadn't visited the city this would be a very confusing audio book and not much help - it almost assumes in it's descriptions that you know, or can see, the location being described. But using Google Maps+Street View, you can see what is being described to you and I would certainly now find this audio book a useful way to be able to build an itinerary for planning a new visit.
- E. A. Williams
Pre trip planning