A Beautiful Ruin: The Cultural Movements that Transformed New York City, 1967-1985Stephen Zacks
AuthorPrinceton Architectural Press, 2013
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
A generation of suburban youth and post-immigration reform non-Western groups arrived in New York during its greatest period of decline and started creating institutions, producing artistic projects in public space, and creating new ways of living in the postindustrial city. A Beautiful Ruin is a densely detailed narrative nonfiction account of their activities during New York's economic low point, capturing the texture of the streets, the fascinations of street art and performance, the romance of the declining manufacturing districts where they lived and worked, the sociological world they inhabited, and how the real estate market, banking industry and city government encouraged their activities. In the aftermath of the fiscal crisis, new forms of urban life, real estate models, art practices, imaginative architecture, cultural institutions, ethnographic fusions, pop culture trends, and art stars emerged as beacons of a new way of living.
Stephen Zacks is a cultural reporter, theorist, and producer based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and a native of Flint, Michigan. He has reported on art, architecture, and urbanism around the world for the New York Times, Village Voice, Print, Monocle, Architectural Record, the Architect's Newspaper, Blueprint, and Metropolis. His international reporting includes coverage of Israeli colonial architecture in the West Bank, masterplanning in Dubai, landmark preservation in Kosovo, the no-man's land in Nicosia, public art in Panama, graphic resistance in Serbia, and the DMZ in South Korea. As a Metropolis editor, he reported on Steven Holl's museum in Kansas City, Stefan Behnisch's high-performance architecture, Rand Elliott in Oklahoma City, Jeanne Gang in Chicago, Phil Freelon in North Carolina, MC2 in Houston, and Peter Gluck in New York. A Beautiful Ruin is informed by a decade of urbanist reporting, teaching, advocacy, and cultural production.
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