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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Four Decades of Downs and Ups in New York City

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There’s nothing wrong with your eyes: The title of Thomas Dyja’s new book is “New York, New York, New York.” (The triplicate is inspired by the urbanist Holly Whyte’s answer when he was asked to name his three favorite American cities.) On this week’s podcast, Dyja discusses how he went about organizing this sweeping look at the past four decades in the city’s history.

“I love timelines,” Dyja says. “I make huge charts to take themes through, so this had an eight-foot-long thing on my wall that basically took certain themes and wove them through all those years.” With all that material, “having to make tough choices was just basic. The first draft was at least more than twice as long. And then there was the cruel, cruel editing process, for which I must thank my editor as I grit my teeth every day. But it was important. I wanted to keep you in the experience of the time so that you get a sense of the whole arc of that era but you wouldn’t put it down 83 times, you would not lose your place in the story. So yeah, there was a lot of cutting. And there are things that are on the cutting room floor that I kind of miss. But at the end of the day, I think it conveys that subway-express-train-blasting-along-from-stop-to-stop experience of New York.”

The magician, writer and theatrical performer Derek DelGaudio visits the podcast to talk about his new book, “Amoralman: A True Story and Other Lies,” which is told in two parts: The first covers his childhood in Colorado, and the second the time he spent doing a very unusual job.

“When I was in my 20s, I worked as what’s known as a bust-out dealer, which is a professional card cheat hired by the house to cheat its customers,” DelGaudio says. “And what I experienced at that house, and what I recognized, I thought was something worth sharing.”

Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gal Beckerman and Dave Kim talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.

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