Friday, November 26, 2010

Great Gifts: "Low Life" by Luc Sante

On this Black Friday, our museum shop at 108 Orchard is a frenzy of sales and shoppers looking for the perfect gift. They're no doubt hunting for our favorite 30 under $30 (found right here), a list of great gift items. Having looked around the shop a bit during my time at the Tenement Museum, I have my own personal favorites.

Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York by Luc Sante might not immediately bring holiday cheer to mind, but it is an absolutely fascinating read. Sante's version of New York's history is an incredibly well-researched, honest portrayal in which he brings the past to life like a work of great fiction. Bowery thugs, robber barons, the slums of Hell's Hundred Acres - you won't believe this stuff. Even Sante's introduction is packed with more great info than most other New York history books combined.

I love this book. I've read it and I've reread it and I've read it again. When I highlighted it in an article for my school newspaper a year ago, I wrote that "Sante, like an archeologist, digs at the earth of the city to find its early remnants, uncovering its most primal truths and motivations. In true New York fashion, he goes straight for the dirt." I still think that nothing captures the spirit of New York and its roots quite like this book, so do a favor for your loved ones this holiday season and get them Low Life ($17).

And remember, your Museum Shop purchases benefit the programs at the Tenement Museum! (Unlike shopping at Amazon, which benefits... Amazon's shareholders.)

So stop by the shop at 108 Orchard Street or visit online to check out Low Life and other great gift ideas!

- Posted by Joe

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