The Heart of the World by Nik Cohn

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Synopsis

"The history of Broadway has been written before, but never better....The verbal energy that pours off these pages is enough to transform the hell of...Times Square into a rough-hewn heaven, neon lit and open all night....The only thing wrong with this book is it isn't longer." —NEWSWEEK

Nik Cohn ushers readers along the street he calls "The Heart of the World." producing a book that is a resplendent pageant of New York's high-and low-life. Among the characters we meet are a golden-tongued cab driver who calls himself a "collector of farces"; a pickpocket with the terrifying gift of impersonating his marks; a heartbreakingly beautiful Dominican tranvestite named Lush Life; strippers; pseudo-prophets; and a disgraced political veteran of the days when the graft was still honest. Conducted by a writer with the manic energy of a sideshow barker and the full-blooded lyricism of a raucous poet, this is a bebop odyssey along the Great White Way that reaches in implication far beyond the streets of New York to document the ever-evolving mixtures that make up America itself.

"A lovely, bracing book, full to bursting with juicy, tasty, rancid life. While making its bawdy way through crowded spaces ... it also travels through modern times ... wondrous." —USA TODAY
 

About Nik Cohn

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Nik Cohn is the author of six previous books, as well as two collaborations with the artist Guy Peellaert. He was born in London, raised in Northern Ireland, and now lives on Shelter Island, New York.
 
Published August 10, 2011 by Vintage. 380 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Barnum and his famed museum of freaks, on Hubert's Museum and Flea Circus in Times Square, on the Gilded Age and Evelyn Nesbit and Stanford White, on the sins of Robert Moses (whose rebuilding plans for the city, Cohn says, cast whole populations into the street), on the sex shops and the Metropo...

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Publishers Weekly

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Sometimes glistening, sometimes disappointing, this tour of Broadway from the Battery to Times Square by British journalist Cohn tells the story of the Great White Way through the lives of various eccentric denizens.

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Publishers Weekly

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Sometimes sparkling, sometimes disappointing, this tour of Broadway from the Battery to Times Square by British journalist Cohn ( Rock Dreams ) tells the story of the Great White Way through the lives of various eccentric denizens.

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Entertainment Weekly

Nik Cohn, an Englishman, of all things, is the Liebling of a new New York.

Feb 07 1992 | Read Full Review of The Heart of the World

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