Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Works: Anatomy Of A City

I'm currently reading one of the most fascinating books I've ever read, "The Works, Anatomy Of A City" , by Kate Ascher

I HIGHLY reccomend it, and know that many members of this forum would enjoy this book that goes in depth to describe NYC's infastructure using comprehensive text, richly detailed illuistrations, and other graphics. It explains how the subway works, going in depth as to describe the work cars the subway uses. It tells you everything you wanted to know about the sanitation and 911 systems. How the sewer plants work, the types of trucks the sanitation department uses, how snow is cleared, and on and on...this book has it all!

I can't say it enough-this book is EXTREMLY detailed and goes in depth on all the subjects mentioned below. The awesome illustrations and the layout of the book make it fun and easy to read.

It's also a great learning tool for emergency services workers.

The book is divided into the following chapters
Moving People
-Bridge And Tunnels
Moving Freight
-Rail Freight
-Maritime Freight
-Air Cargo-Markets
-Natural Gas
-Moving The Mail
-The Airwaves
Keeping It Clean
The Future

Editorial Reviews From

Kate Ascher could not have chosen a much drier
topic for a book than water mains, parking meters, railroad classification
yards, and the other doodads of city infrastructure. But in Ascher's captivating
book, The Works, the innards of New York City come alive. Wonderfully
illustrated, the book combines text, maps, and other graphics to tell the story
of the systems that keep America's greatest city running smoothly. How are
traffic lights coordinated? How do potholes form and which areas have streets
with the best "smoothness score"? How is mail processed? What happens when you
flush the toilet? Ascher, who has a PhD in government from the London School of
Economics and is now executive vice president of the New York City Economic
Development Corporation, dissects the colorful workings of all these systems and
much more.

The Works contains a section on pretty much every aspect of the
Big Apple's infrastructure. You'll learn the mystery of the shiny silver tanks
that have become a familiar sight on New York streets. (They prevent moisture
from damaging underground phone lines.) Ascher explains how the city's 23
million daily pieces of mail are processed. We also learn about the 27-mile
underground pneumatic mail tube that used to carry canisters with 500 letters up
to 30 miles per hour around Manhattan. Also interesting: the story of the
nine-foot-long, 800-pound robot submarine that city engineers send to probe
leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct--which, it might interest you to know, is the
world's longest continuous underground tunnel. And you'll find out all about
Colonel Waring and his "White Wings." A great coffee table book for New York
lovers or anyone with a curiosity bone. --Alex Roslin Book DescriptionHow much
do you really know about the systems that keep a city alive? The Works: Anatomy
of a City contains everything you ever wanted to know about what makes New York
City run. When you flick on your light switch the light goes on--how? When you
put out your garbage, where does it go? When you flush your toilet, what happens
to the waste? How does water get from a reservoir in the mountains to your city
faucet? How do flowers get to your corner store from Holland, or bananas get
there from Ecuador? Who is operating the traffic lights all over the city? And
what in the world is that steam coming out from underneath the potholes on the
street? Across the city lies a series of extraordinarily complex and
interconnected systems. Often invisible, and wholly taken for granted, these are
the systems that make urban life possible.

The Works: Anatomy of a City offers a
cross section of this hidden infrastructure, using beautiful, innovative graphic
images combined with short, clear text explanations to answer all the questions
about the way things work in a modern city. It describes the technologies that
keep the city functioning, as well as the people who support them-the pilots
that bring the ships in over the Narrows sandbar, the sandhogs who are currently
digging the third water tunnel under Manhattan, the television engineer who
scales the Empire State Building's antenna for routine maintenance, the
electrical wizards who maintain the century-old system that delivers power to
subways. Did you know that the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is so long, and its
towers are so high, that the builders had to take the curvature of the earth's
surface into account when designing it? Did you know that the George Washington
Bridge takes in approximately $1 million per day in tolls? Did you know that
retired subway cars travel by barge to the mid-Atlantic, where they are dumped
overboard to form natural reefs for fish? Or that if the telecom cables under
New York were strung end to end, they would reach from the earth to the sun?
While the book uses New York as its example, it has relevance well beyond that
city's boundaries as the systems that make New York a functioning metropolis are
similar to those that keep the bright lights burning in big cities everywhere.

The Works is for anyone who has ever stopped midcrosswalk, looked at the rapidly
moving metropolis around them, and wondered, how does this all work?