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Book Launch

Book Launch | Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City

04/09 Monday | 6pm

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join for the launch of Joseph E. B. Elliott, Nathaniel Popkin, and Peter Woodall’s Philadelphia – Finding the Hidden City. Authors Nathaniel Popkin and Peter Woodall will be present in conversation with Michelle Young and David Grazian. 

In Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City, urban observers Nathaniel Popkin and Peter Woodall uncover the contemporary essence of one of America’s oldest cities. Working with accomplished architectural photographer Joseph Elliott, they explore secret places in familiar locations, such as the Metropolitan Opera House on North Broad Street, the Divine Lorraine Hotel, Reading Railroad, Disston Saw Works in Tacony, and mysterious parts of City Hall. Much of the real Philadelphia is concealed behind facades. Philadelphia artfully reveals its urban secrets. Rather than a nostalgic elegy to loss and urban decline, Philadelphia exposes the city’s vivid layers and living ruins. The authors connect Philadelphia’s idiosyncratic history, culture, and people to develop an alternative theory of American urbanism, and place the city in American urban history. The journey here is as much visual as it is literary; Joseph Elliott’s sumptuous photographs reveal the city’s elemental beauty.

Nathaniel Popkin is a writer, editor, historian, journalist, and the author of five books, including the novel Everything is Borrowed, forthcoming in May 2018 (New Door Books). He’s the co-editor of Who Will Speak for America?, a literary anthology in response to the American political crisis, also forthcoming, in June 2018 (Temple University Press). He’s the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine, as well as a prolific book critic—and National Book Critics Circle member—focusing on literary fiction and works in translation. His work has appeared in the Wall Street JournalPublic BooksThe RumpusTablet MagazineLitHubThe Millions, and the Kenyon Review, among other publications.

Peter Woodall is a former newspaper reporter and producer for public radio. He co-founded the web magazine Hidden City Daily and is the project director of its parent organization, Hidden City Philadelphia.

David Grazian is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. In his research he employs a variety of ethnographic and other qualitative methods to study the production and consumption of commercial entertainment in the urban milieu. He is the author of four books: Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs (Univ. Chicago Press, 2003), On the Make: The Hustle of Urban Nightlife (Univ. Chicago Press, 2008), Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society (W.W. Norton, 2010), and American Zoo: A Sociological Safari (Princeton Univ. Press, 2015).

Michelle Young is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture at Columbia GSAPP, where she leads the Urban Studies Studio in the New York/Paris: A Shape of Two Cities program. Young is founder of Untapped Cities, a web magazine about architecture, urban discovery and exploration. She is the author of the books Broadway from Arcadia Publishing, Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide (Jonglez Publishing), 100 Ways to Make History (published by the New York Public Library) and New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants (Jonglez).

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