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See the City: The Journey of Manhattan Unfurled    by Matteo Pericoli order for
See the City
by Matteo Pericoli
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Matteo Pericoli takes the reader on a tour in See the City. With pen-and-ink drawings of New York's skyline, shoreline, and views from the Hudson and East Rivers, Pericoli created two continuous scrolls measuring 37-feet, detailing architecture, trees, and water scenes, representing the West Side and East Side of Manhattan island. In 1998 Pericoli began his drawings (of fifteen hundred buildings, and nineteen bridges), which were originally published in Manhattan Unfurled, in October 2001.

Here, Pericoli presents his drawings in brief narrative geared to a young audience. The first two pages of the East and West sides of Manhattan include the World Trade Center Towers (still standing when the architect began his drawings in 1998). Pericoli marks one building with '2,215 windows'. On a subsequent page, he asks the reader 'How many windows did I draw here?' Included are famous edifices like the Empire State Building, the United Nations, the Citicorp building with its slanted roof, and Gracie Mansion (home of the Mayor of New York City).

Among the nineteen bridges connecting Manhattan island to other places is the George Washington Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge, and the Triborough Bridge. Not forgotten are bridges that swivel, and those that move up and down to accommodate ships traveling the rivers. Some bridges connect Manhattan island to four boroughs, specifically the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, which all comprise 'New York City'. Points of interest are cities within the City -- The Battery, Little Italy, Chinatown, Harlem, Greenwich Village, and TriBeCa, the American Museum of Natural History, and The Intrepid (a museum on a historical ship).

The book is bound in a durable hard cover, and uniquely designed in a flip-over, tri-fold, forming two sections. Opening the cover of one side of the book offers readers the drawings of Manhattan's West Side. When turned over, the East Side is featured. Pericoli's hand-drawn labelling informs readers about his drawings. I highly recommend See the City as ageless memorabilia to be given as a gift, or to oneself. Though directed toward young readers, Pericoli's accomplished artwork is of interest to all ages.

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