Here’s my 25 favorite books about New York City history. Help me choose 25 more!

Over the weekend, I put together this Riffle list of my favorite 25 book on the subject of New York City history, published over the last one hundred years.

I’ll admit that this list reflects what’s on my shelf at the moment and is not in any way yet complete. (For instance, I’m obviously sparse on books published before World War II.) But I do highly recommend all of these books as a sort of ‘beginners library’ on the subject of New York City:


(The two grayed out books above are ‘The Tiger The Rise and Fall of Tammany Hall‘ and ‘The Most Famous Man In America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher‘.)

Now I’d love to get your ideas to make it a Top 50 book selection, made by the readers and listeners of the Bowery Boys.

Here’s the criteria to be considered:  the book must be non-fiction and fairly non-academic, i.e. meant for a general reading audience, published since 1913 . The books can be biographies or memoirs of famous New Yorkers.  I left references off this list — like the Encyclopedia of New York — but can put it back on if there’s enough outcry.

And, sadly, I’ve left essays and criticism of this list. My E.B White, Jane Jacobs and Ada Louise Huxtable books are feeling left out.  I’m planning on a follow-up list in coming weeks for those books, and for fiction as well (for those Edward Rutherfurd fans out there!).

You can leave a comment on this page or join our Facebook page and leave your suggestions in the comments there. Or email me ( or even reach out on Twitter (@boweryboys)! I’ll compile the 25 best choices from readers and repost this list late next week as ‘The 50 Best New York History Books Chosen by Bowery Boys Listeners and Readers’.

Thanks in advance for your selections!