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Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  911 ratings  ·  161 reviews

An unflinching chronicle of gentrification in the twenty-first century and a love letter to lost New York by the creator of the popular and incendiary blog Vanishing New York.

For generations, New York City has been a mecca for artists, writers, and other hope
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published July 25th 2017 by Dey Street Books
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The ten most popular kids from every high school in the world are now living in New York City. Those are the people who most of us who came to New York came here to get away from.”

Such a good read.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I argued with the author on almost every page. He was opinionated, dismissive of much of the outer boroughs (where I would argue that much of the soul he laments we lost remains, and yes, I have lived in Brooklyn, Queens, and, currently, the Bronx), contradictory, and a teller of incomplete stories to make his argument better. That said--I'm glad I read it and I recommend it. It is the story of our collective "lost" NYC, the way things change in such a way that we, long-term NYers, are in consta ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, ebooks, nyc
Although there are almost always two sides to the story, Moss makes a convincing case for gentrification in New York as having erased an awful lot of the city's history. As has been noted, he's strongest when presenting specific examples, rather than expounding theory. Definitely recommended.

Logan Crossley
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Vanishing New York is an insightful book about a complex topic by a frustrating author. My review is too long, but so is the book. So if you proceed to either one, you’ve been warned.

Essentially a 420-page rant against the gentrification of Manhattan, VNY reminisces about the past, complains of the present, and shudders at the future. Moss has written a diatribe fueled by the collective pain of communities and the deeply personal pain of watching something you love change before your eyes. He wa
Michelle Ruiz Andrews
3.5 stars, really.

For anyone in NYC (and plenty of other cities) who wonders why there are so many empty storefronts and such a sad lack of small, local businesses (non-Starbucks coffee, real bagels, delis, dives and pizza), Jeremiah Moss of the fantastic blog Vanishing New York delivers the deeply-reported explanation, making a compelling case for the fact that "hyper-gentrification" was no accident, but a very deliberate shift in the policy and philosophy of New York City—away from investing
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book as much as I could, given the subject matter, which is, to put it plainly, the destruction of New York City by neoliberal-policy-fueled hyper-gentrification. Jeremiah Moss is a year younger than I am, and moved to the city in the year I first began to realize I would not be able to afford to return to it as a resident. Every New Yorker who leaves feels sadness on returning to find it changed. It does go on without you, and to some extent you accept that. But what I've noticed ...more
Received through FirstReads...
I loved this, it really struck a nerve. If it makes you happy to see old buildings torn down and replaced with generic glass and metal structures, this is not for you. This made me so angry, as it brought to mind several places that used to exist in the town I grew up in, which were torn down and either replaced completely, or "improved", which is my personal favorite. They tore down an old, half-timbered pub, replaced it with something that looks like Chipotle with
Fredrik deBoer
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The effect of reading this book is, in a sense, monotonous. That's because Jeremiah Moss's Vanishing New York is following in a long tradition of books that essentially have one argument and pummel you with it over and over again. But that does not make it a bad book. On the contrary, I think there's something deeply vital to what's being catalogued here. It is certainly relevant that I am someone who lives in New York (though not a New Yorker) and can identify many of the places that he's descr ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this determined to not let Moss infect me with his nostalgia and hopelessness and by the end I was in tears, mourning the city I so dearly love, now that he has stripped away my blinders. I'm furious at our leadership for allowing everything that made this city be cut auctioned and hauled off to the highest bidder. This is a beautiful necessary work but know you cannot resist Moss. If you have any love for NYC you'll walk away feeling like you just attended the most beautiful m ...more
Bill reilly
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Vanishing New York could be a metaphor for all of America, as the rich have taken over. Caleb Carr’s “soul sucking transformation” applies nationwide; it is not just the Big Apple. The adult entertainment area of Manhattan has been cleaned up to make way for the squeaky clean and family friendly image of Mickey Mouse and Disney. It figures, as Walt Disney was rumored to be a drug addict and pedophile. The author begins in the East Village. It has been widely known as an artist’s community since ...more
Jeff Buddle
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Okay. Let's push all the mourning for a lost New York aside. We've lost a lot. When I moved to Greenpoint there was a real five and dime, replaced now by a Sleepy's. My wife and I, after seeing our apartment to be, ate pierogies and borscht at a now shuttered Polish restaurant. When we moved onto Franklin Street, there was one bar...ONE bar on Franklin Street. There are now at least 10. There was a little diner on the corner called Rudy's. When my wife and I went, the proprietor -Rudy- insisted ...more
John Spiller
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Vanishing New York” is a fascinating examination of the “hyper-gentrification” of New York City (well, more focused on Manhattan and Brooklyn). The conventional wisdom holds that Rudy Giuliani’s “broken windows” approach to policing spurred gentrification, making lower Manhattan more attractive to professionals, which lead to a virtuous cycle of urban “pioneers” attracting investment and redevelopment of decaying squalor. Devoting chapters to the recent transformation of bellwether neighborhood ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
“It’s these two seemingly opposite states—alone and connected—that hold me. Even in the howling crowds, as the city crumbles and dies all around us, now and then, here and there, if we’re paying close attention, we can still find pleasure in the gifts of New York.”

I have complicated views on this book. The history and author’s viewpoint and obvious love of New York are compelling, and his point that Manhattan is turning into a luxury generic suburb and losing what makes it distinct isn’t false.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Where even to start with this Kindle-deal book I picked up on a whim? As someone who has visited New York a handful of times, I had no idea just how much corporate greed and corrupt policies have changed the city (though I DID notice how every-city and clean midtown Manhattan seemed when I visited briefly in ‘17 to see some Broadway shows). Hyper-gentrification, white return, and the decimation of the working class are the wave of the aughts and ‘10s in New York, and with it come forced eviction ...more
Morgan Thomas
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
To begin with I an a fan of this book. As a lifelong New Yorker I have have seen first hand many of the things that Moss discusses in his book. The way that neighborhood institutions have given way to another bank or Starbucks or CVS (how many does one person need? We are not children we can move about in more than a two block radius if we must).
What I wish for this book though, is that it would have discussed the way gentrification has more adverse affects on people economically. He mentions i
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, new-york-city
While I agree with Moss’ lament about the gentrification of New York City; the rise of rent that prices out locally owned business and opens the door for sterile city blocks full of corporations like Starbucks, CVS, and dozens of other shops that populate suburban malls, I do not align with what he calls his “nostalgie de la boue” or a “yearning for the mud.” He rightfully decries the “Disneyfying” of Times Square, but he misses the drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, dirty bookstores, pickpockets ...more
Thomas Ryan
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not since "Low Life" has a finer book on New York City been produced. Powered by detail, with a poet's ear for words, and the empathy of a therapist, this book is one long love letter to a great city reduced by a simple formula-- rezone, build high using tax breaks, cut services in the 'poor' areas, bring in corporate supported boxes and chains and destroy the Mom&Pop stores and shift the working class to second class status and promote the moneyed class and tourist class at their expense and cr ...more
Wayne Clark
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, nyc
Author Jeremiah Moss deserves some kind of wonderful award, one that goes far beyond his writing skill. America should honor him for illuminating what is destroying the country’s greatest city. Maybe other cities will be wise enough not to let the same thing happen. The minutiae, the memories, the ordinary scenes and lives captured forever in Vanishing New York become larger than life because of the bigger picture they are now part of thanks to Moss. It’s truly sad what financial myopia has done ...more
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Somewhere between two and three stars. Moss is fired with a lot of passion and righteous indignation, but falters badly when it comes to historical analysis. The "micro" chapters on particular neighborhoods are decent, sometimes pretty good, while the "macro" chapters on Big Picture history are unsophisticated bordering on juvenile. ...more
Jason Diamond
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Going right up there with Joseph Mitchells "The Power Broker," Luc Sante's "Low Life," and Ada Calhoun's "St. Marks is Dead" on my great NYC history books part of the shelf. I long for the city that Moss looks back on, but I'm hopeful its soul isn't lost forever after reading this great book. ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this book is bananas. jeremiah is blinded by his love for manhattan, is way too dismissive of the outerboroughs, spends way too much time complaining about stuff being clean. but his over-the-top-ness is basically the point. what's happened is enraging. be mad. ...more
Andrew Shine
Eye-opening and extremely well-researched. Although, as non-native, I found my frequently Googling places just to see what they looked like or where they were geographically. That's not a criticism - it is a book about New York after all - I just felt dumb for having never heard of places like The Bowery.

But for the places I am familiar with, I could not deny the presence of hyper-gentrification. And the book did a great job of laying out how the city encourages things like eminent domain, rezon
Valerie Grande
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
What can I say about this book? I called NYC home for an instant (four years in the 80s) and because of that I am attached to the city in ways that tourists and travelers are not. I visit as often as I can and try to search out vestiges of the NYC I knew and the NYC that existed before my short time there. Each time I go I’m struck and saddened by the loss of small businesses on every corner replaced with the chain stores that define suburbia. The author delves deeply and articulately into the c ...more
Sansriti Tripathi
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great read, though at times a bit repetitive in its lament for New York’s soul. Wish the author had focused a bit more on Queens/the Bronx, beyond one short chapter for each, especially since areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn had multiple chapters dedicated to them
Alec Rigdon
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a very insightful and eye-opening read about the state of New York City as a living, breathing place. While Moss can come across a bit aggressive, all the arguments are well thought out and thoroughly researched. The concise history of specific neighborhoods throughout the city and the ways and underlying reasons they have changed helped me understand a lot more about the city I call home and some of the mixed, yet indescribable feelings I experience from time to time.
I highly recommend
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book, especially for a cynic and nostalgist like myself, is horribly depressing. The author is unrelenting in his historical depiction in the death of the city... and all US cities. As a person who has lived in NYC for 10 years, I’ve witnessed it myself. Depressing but necessary.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Thanks for writing this, Jeremiah Moss.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting perspective on the changes in NYC and the strategy behind making them happen.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so great and made me feel so sad. New York City as we know/knew it is dying. This book shows how and why it is happening.
Tito Quiling, Jr.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-studies
With over ten years of living in the city, and more years of knowledge and a dearth of information on the "Big Apple", Moss takes us into a rather poignant walk throughout one of the most recognizable cityscapes in the world. It is by recalling the histories of the city, one that was shaped by immigrants, that gives it all the colors and flavors that is has retained, although some are slowly being eroded by the fangs of gentrification and people being forcibly moved out of their long-time homes. ...more
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