These studies both examine particular regions of the country, though for author Christoph Lindner, New York seems too exceptional and cosmopolitan to see itself as marginal or “regional.” Both base their studies in visual arts, though Joseph Millichap, unlike Lindner (and despite his book’s title), does not reproduce photographs. Both derive discourses from dialectics—Lindner pairs the architectural uncanny and the urban sublime, the skyline of “New York vertical” and the streetscape of “New York horizontal,” and Millichap employs 1930s documentary realism and “subjective modernism.” Perusing these extensive, broad-ranging surveys, readers almost forget that necessarily selective surveys elide individual subject positions and leave much to the visual “palimpsests” such as those Lindner frequently sees on his city’s vibrant canvas.

Lindner’s “New York vertical” emerges from sixteenth-century harbor descriptions that predate skylines, then goes through the early skyscraper era’s booms and busts, and finally...

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