New York Characters by Gillian Zoe Segal

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A celebration of the personalities that make New York City unique.

Every year millions of people flock to New York City, drawn to its unparalleled theaters, museums, restaurants, and sights. While much has been written about these topics, one of the city's greatest attractions has gone largely unheralded: its characters. Among the masses, there are some who stand out from the crowd, a special group of New Yorkers who give the city its flavor and make it a vibrant, exciting, and unique place. New York Characters is a tribute to these people. Celebrated in both photographs and words, Gillian Zoe Segal's subjects include neighborhood fixtures, prominent celebrities, famous personalities, and the truly eccentric. Among the extraordinary New Yorkers you'll meet are Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa; Ken Krisses, the president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club; the "real" Kramer, on whom the Seinfeld character is based; sports fanatics Dancin' Larry and Fireman Ed; restaurateurs Elaine Kaufman and Sylvia Woods; Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, the "subway" dermatologist; and Jimmy Breslin, the legendary newspaperman. Segal has photographed sixty-six such characters in their own distinctive environments. Accompanying the striking portraits are colorful profiles of each individual. The foreword by George Plimpton, a "New York character" himself, is a tribute to Segal's extraordinary work and her fascinating collection of New Yorkers.

About Gillian Zoe Segal

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Segal is a freelance photographer. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Yeshiva Univeristy. George Ames Plimpton was born March 18, 1927. He was educated first at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and then spent four years at Harvard majoring in English and editing the Harvard Lampoon, followed by two at King's College, Cambridge. Before he left for Cambridge, he served as a tank driver in Italy for the U.S. Army from 1945 through 1948. After graduation, at about 27 years of age, Plimpton went with his friends to Paris. There they founded the Paris Review in 1953 and published poetry and short story writers and did interviews. In the '50s, Plimpton and staff came to New York, where they kept the Review going for half a century. The Review has published over 150 issues. Plimpton also served as a volunteer for Robert Kennedy's 1968 presidential run and was walking in front of him as the candidate was assassinated in the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel. Plimpton was known as a "participatory journalist". In order to research his books and articles, he quarterbacked in a pre-season NFL game, pitched to several all-stars (retiring Willie Mays and Richie Ashburn) in an exhibition prior to Baseball's 1959 All-Star game, performed as a trapeze artist for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus, and fought boxers Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson. Plimpton was alson known by the nickname the Prince of Cameos for the amount of work he did in films, playing small parts and screenwriting. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2002. Within a month of the academy induction, the French made him a Chevalier, the Legion of Honor's highest rank. The Guild, an arts organization based on Long Island, gave him a lifetime achievement award. Plimpton was also a member of PEN; the Pyrotechnics Guild International; the National Football League Alumni Association; and the Mayflower Descendants Society. In 2003, Plimpton decided to write his memoirs, signing a $750,000 deal with Little, Brown and Co. Before he could finish, George Plimpton died, on September 26, 2003 of natural causes at the age of 76.
Published November 1, 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company. 128 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Travel. Non-fiction

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Plenty of books feature New York City's famous landmarks, but what about the Big Apple's famous or notorious, or merely interesting citizens?

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