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Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times In Today's New York

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Growing inequality is today a world-wide phenomenon. But it is at its most acute in the “world cities” where the rich choose to live (or invest their fortunes in real estate). Nowhere is this more evident than New York City, where the top 1% earns upwards of $500,000/year, while 22,000 children are homeless.

What does this chasm of wealth feel like to people who live and wo
Paperback, 288 pages
Published 2014 by OR Books
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  226 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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30 visiones tan lúcidas como esclarecedoras que desenmascaran el rostro más desfavorable de una ciudad delimitada por sus contradicciones y contrastes. Nueva York sigue siendo, a pesar de los oscuros testimonios que revelan lo contrario, ese destino idílico, casi utópico, en el que cientos de miles de personas depositan sus proyectos, metas y ambiciones personales. Es cierto que la parte paradisíaca, el lujo, la estimulante escena cultural y artística que nos venden en los folletos turísticos ex ...more
Kevin Lawrence
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Wow, John Freeman is an incredibly loathsome creep -- he and his family withheld an inheritance from his mentally ill brother and he never opened up his door to his brother when he wound up homeless in NYC. But rest assured, he has the good grace to "...often like his photographs on Facebook." Such brotherly love just warms the heart, doesn't it?

You can read about his hand-wringing over his homeless brother while he looked down at the homeless from the comfort of his posh duplex in Manhattan he
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn. Este libro ha sido un hallazgo brutal y hermoso. Una colección de textos indispensables que tiran a patadas todos los mitos sobre Nueva York. Todo el discurso hipster buena onda sobre la gentrificación. Todo el glamour sobre una ciudad que está podrida en muchas aristas.

Es imposible enumerar mis pasajes favoritos. En realidad el 80% de las intervenciones me parecieron extraordinarias. Pero me quedo en el corazón con las aportaciones de Zadie Smith, la de Jonathan Safran Foer, y todas las v
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Several years ago, I bought an apartment in Manhattan with an inheritance passed to me from my grandmother, who was the daughter of a former attorney for Standard Oil. She outlived three husbands and managed her money well, and in one fell swoop from beyond the grave hoisted me out of one social class and into another. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, my younger brother was living in a homeless shelter.

That's how Freeman starts his introduction to Tales of Two Cities. I am delighted to re
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Being a sucker for books set in NYC, when I saw this anthology reviewed in The Guardian, there wasn't too much of a 'hard sell' required for me to buy it, and it turned out to be a collection that I, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed.

The collection includes both fiction and non fiction from writers I have previously read and enjoyed, like Colum McCann, Bill Cheng, Edmund White and Dinaw Megestu, other 'names' including Teju Cole, Jonathan Dee, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dave Eggers and Zadie Smit
Katy Connolly
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm finally finished with this book; it took me about 10 billion years but I'm not entirely sure that's the book's fault. I would absolutely recommend this book, especially to people who like short stories or want to start getting in to them. MOST of the stories are super interesting insights into the huge wealth gap in NYC and can really be translated to the issues facing any large cities in the US. I was especially interested in and impressed by the stories and essays that explored and discuss ...more
Holly Woodward
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great to see a book that addresses the homeless and the widening gap between the ultra-rich and the poor.
Thomas Mackell
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this book has some of the best short story writing i've ever read and also made me realize i probably can never live in nyc because it would tear me to shreds
Jennifer Ridgway
This review originally appeared on Everyday eBook

The Many Faces of NYC: Tales of Two Cities by John Freeman

New York City: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. The glam, the glitz, the money, the power. This is certainly not how the majority of New Yorkers live. There are multitudes barely scraping by -- living in homeless shelters or on the street, in apartments with sleazy landlords doing their best to get them out to make room for renters who will pay more money. As Mayor deBlasi
tartaruga fechada
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wahyu Novian
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“New York is a tale of two cities—there is the Rich New York and the Poor New York—but it is the tale of the Rich New York that we most often see and hear about.” (page 215)

That quote from Tim Freeman’s story titled Home sums up this whole book. Indeed New York as the greatest city in the world is the common known image. Even TV shows or movies often show that New York also often broke people’s dream, but somehow it was portrayed in such a glorious way (and it’ll be alright in the end.) Reading
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: racconti
Il voto è complessivo, all'intera trilogia, di cui questo è forse il volume più debole, essendo costretto a riannodare tantissimi fili e anche, a volte, a dover spiegare per forza.
Un 'operazione complessivamente molto convincente nella creazione di mondi, un messaggio di fondo estremamente complesso in un libro che dovrebbe essere per bambini ma può certo essere per adulti, personaggi vividi e una bella facilità di lettura, una bella capacità di trascinarti dentro l'avventura.
Mi sono divertito s
Chris Roberts
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
The anti-hero in this New York City telling is a bum.

Indeed, much to the chagrin of liberals, those that choose to live in the gutters and alleyways of our great cities are not "homeless." A homeless person is somebody displaced by fire, flood or some other natural disaster.

A bum is somebody that has consciously opted out of society for whatever reason. So we have for ourselves a wide array of adjectives to use when describing a bum: vagrant, hobo, beggar, derelict, guttersnipe, vagabond and s
Jim Jordan
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
(23) This book is a collection of pieces on the duality that exists in early twenty-first century New York. For those considering living their dream and moving to the myth that is New York, this is a must-read. Having spent parts of eight summers there, I suppose I have that same dream too.

So many great pieces on housing and the character of the city and those who live there. None more poignant than that written by John's brother Tim. "I did not fully understand New York before I moved there, b
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this because of Zadie Smith and Junot Diaz (obviously exactly what the marketing team intended), but was sorely disappointed by both. I expected a collection of short stories and essays set in New York that address some of the issues the city faces, and while there was some of that, this was mainly a hodgepodge of various writers' experiences in the city, many of which seemed a little irrelevant to what I think this collection was supposed to do. There are two or three stories tha ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is always heartwarming to see how a city brings people together - even a city as big and as diverse as NYC. The tales here are not only about the two cities, but about so many cities, so many experiences, so many things touching us, annoying us, leaving us baffled and so on. For an European, there are stories here that seem exotic - especially since one has only been in NY as a tourist. But the thing is, there is a bit of something that one can relate to, some bits and pieces of feelings and ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
An eclectic and excellent collection of short stories, essays and pieces of reportage covering wealth disparity in New York City. As with all collections, some pieces are better than others but I can't say there was a single piece here that I felt was below average. Well worth picking up, especially for New Yorkers.
Oct 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010s, clubbing, essays
Koan: When the underrepresented get represented in every essay and story in a book, do they get to keep the prefix under?
I hate to criticize a book by what is left out, but when the title says "Two Cities" - shouldn't the bugaboo of wealthy, gentrified New York be given a voice, too?
That said, it includes interesting and informative pieces, among some that are easily skim-able.
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are several short stories from various authors centered around class, race, and gentrification issues in NYC. If you've lived in NYC for at least a year it's definitely worth a read. You won't gain much reading these without some context of living here. I've been a resident for 2+ years now, so almost all the stories resonated.
Eleanor Simpson
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A real mixed bag in terms of quality of stories and writing. A worthwhile read overall. It contains some gems and does a good job of exposing the paradox of the simultaneously very Rich and very Poor city of New York. Sadly, the disparities are even greater now than when this book was written.
Varun Gulati
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this anthology, writers from all walks of life (but all with affiliations to New York), share stories about New York City's inequality. I especially enjoyed some of the fiction pieces and memoirs, but found a couple of the think pieces to bland and unoriginal.
Stuart Gordon
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the finest collection of short stories and non-fiction essays I believe I've ever read. You'll feel as though you've lived in New York by the time you finish.
Dec 27, 2016 added it
Shelves: not-reading
picked the wrong edition for the current reading shelf and can't get this incorrect edition off the list, an odd thing.
Manolo González
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Algo desigual en los relatos pero genera una idea de lo que debe ser vivir en Nueva York.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars. This broke my reading drought of a month. Some pieces were great and some weren't, but mostly enjoyed this.
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Deyan Ginev
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Slices of slices of life. Diverse and exploring, takes both the beaten and unbeaten paths to the NYC wilderness.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really took my time and savored this collection. Some of the stories were excellent and I can't wait to go to Book Riot next month with a deeper understanding of this city!
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of short stories, which made me discover beautiful autors, and wonderful aspects of New-York City.
rated it liked it
May 09, 2017
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Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John Freeman is an award-winning writer and book critic who has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. Freeman won the 2007 James Patterson Pageturner Award for his work as the president of the National