A new book, A City Not a State, by Daniel F. Bierut, offers a rare insight into how cities have shaped the way we live and work, and the role that the country’s capital plays in that transformation.
Biersut has spent his career working on the nexus between public policy and the urban fabric, but he’s written the most comprehensive history of the way cities have reshaped and shaped the lives of people across the United States.
“The story of New York is a story of the cities and the states, the national economy and the people who live there,” he writes in the introduction.
“It is the story of how cities and states have shaped America’s political, economic, social, cultural, and spiritual life, and of how those cities and their people have shaped how America’s national identity has been shaped.”
A City, Not a Statute (public library) As a city rises, so too do the ways in which it reshapes itself.
This is not the first time the book has made a big splash: Biersuth’s previous books, about cities in the United Kingdom and Denmark, were hailed as literary masterpieces by critics and fans.
But this is his most ambitious and well-written yet.
This year, New York, one of the most populous cities in America, has been rethinking its cityscape.
In a city that has had a long history of resisting its own identity, this is the city that first embraced the idea of a city.
It’s a city where the first major political party ran on a platform that explicitly sought to erase the city’s distinctive character and identity, one that has led to a host of changes that are shaping the lives and the cities of New Yorkers, including the creation of the state of New Jersey, which was the first to fully legalize same-sex marriage.
But Biersuts book is not about politics in New York’s City Hall, the city where we live, the political parties in Albany, or even the New York Times.
It is about the way New Yorkers feel about the city, and about what it means to be a city and a place.
“New York City is the great city, but it is also the city in which I have spent most of my life,” writes Biersuto, who grew up in Manhattan.
“And it is the City in which, as I began to learn in my early 20s, I began developing the ideas that would become The American Dream, which became, as it turned out, the American Dream for many of us.”
The book is a book of “a kind of New Americanism” in which cities are not just the capital of the nation, but also a place of great pride, and a city in need of a new vision.
Biesut points to the book’s title, which is an ironic reference to the famous speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who famously said, “You are what you eat.”
The phrase “you eat what you build” is not a new one in New Yorks own history, but the book suggests that it was not always so.
“At first glance, the title seems to suggest that cities are more than a place to live, to eat, to work, or to play,” Biesuts writes.
“But the city is, in fact, a way of life.”
Biersubs description of New York is also an account of the city as a place that has come to embody American values and ideals, including democracy, individual freedom, and equality.
In the New Yorker, Biersuy writes of New Yorcs “embrace of diversity and a tolerance for people from all backgrounds.”
The city, he writes, has “taught us that if we are truly American, we can do more than just love our country.”
A city that is the “great city, is also a city of pride, in which the first national party ran for the White House on a campaign that explicitly embraced the city and its citizens.”
Biesuy’s description of the character of New york is the same one that Bieruts has been writing about since the 1990s, when he wrote about how New York had been “proud of its African American history,” a history that was “remarkably absent from politics.”
“It’s a story that begins with a time when the city was a melting pot, when the most progressive political leaders were young African American men like Mayor Ed Koch, and then there was Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the first openly gay mayor in American history, and so on,” he wrote.
The city had been a “giant melting pot,” where people from different backgrounds and races came together and formed “truly diverse and diverse and vibrant communities.”
This is the way the city has come back to life, to New Yorkers in particular.
“I think we’re returning to a world that has been lost,” Biersue says.
“What we’re looking at is not