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  • A Beautiful Ruin: The Generation that Transformed New York, 1967-1986
    Stephen Zacks
    Inventory Books, Princeton Architectural Press, 2015
    Stephen Zacks

Anne Healy, Sail, 1974, New York. Photo: Mariette Pathy Allen. Courtesy of Creative Time.

A generation of suburban youth and post-immigration reform non-Western groups arrive in New York during its greatest period of decline and create institutions, produce artistic projects in public space, and create 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 an internationally recognized architecture and urbanism reporter, theorist, and cultural producer based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and a native of Flint, Michigan. He received an MA in liberal studies from the New School for Social Research, a BA in interdisciplinary humanities, with honors, from Michigan State University, served as an editor at Metropolis, and has received awards from the NY State Council on the Arts, Newtown Creek Fund, the Graham Foundation, ArtPlace, MacDowell Colony, and Creative Capital \ Warhol Foundation. He is founder and executive director of Flint Public Art Project, cofounder of the Bring to Light—Nuit Blanche New York festival, and former codirector of the Collective: Unconscious performance art space, he is currently writing A Beautiful Ruin: The Generation that Transformed New York, 1967-1986, a nonfiction narrative about New York during the mid-70s fiscal crisis.