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Salwen, Peter. Upper West Side Story: A History and Guide. New York: Abbeville Press, 1989.
Although this is not an entirely academic work, this book provides some great information about the evolution of New York's Upper West Side from a backwater farm community to a risqué entertainer's colony to a haven for quirky celebrities. Salwen's book is full of vignettes that tell the story of a neighborhood reflecting larger changes in both urban and American life. He describes the concurrent changes in the area's architecture at great length. The photographs used by Salwen tell as much of his narrative as do his actual words; he includes a photograph of Broadway (then Bloomingdale Lane) showing it to be a pastoral country road. Salwen weaves a very readable tale of the Upper West Side being not quite as "proper" as other parts of New York, but definitely more exciting. However, despite the general folklorish tone of the book, Salwen also delves into more complicated sociological issues regarding the changes in demographics on the Upper West Side. Specifically he describes the city planning changes in the area (Lincoln Center, etc.) and the displacement it caused in the 1960s. This book would be a great background resource for someone doing work on a particular Upper West Side building or neighborhood. It would also be good for someone doing work on vaudeville culture or New York City as a whole. [E. Benedict]