Eat the City: A Tale of the Fish­ers, For­agers, Butch­ers, Farm­ers, Poul­try Min­ders, Sug­ar Refin­ers, Cane Cut­ters, Bee­keep­ers, Wine­mak­ers, and Brew­ers Who Built New York

Robin Shul­man
  • From the Publisher
April 23, 2012
This intel­li­gent, grip­ping, beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten book intro­duces New York­ers — past and present — who grow veg­eta­bles, butch­er meat, fish local waters, refine sug­ar, keep bees for hon­ey, brew beer, and make wine. In the most heav­i­ly built urban envi­ron­ment in the coun­try, the book shows an organ­ic city full of intre­pid, eccen­tric peo­ple who want to make things grow.

In these pages, Jew­ish sug­ar refin­ers flee­ing Brazil land in Man­hat­tan in the 1600s and help launch its sug­ar trade and build the city. Euro­pean Jew­ish butch­ers arrive in New York in the 1900s and found the largest meat­pack­ing dis­trict on the East Coast, buoyed by local demand for kosher meat, and sup­plied by live ani­mals march­ing to the slaugh­ter through Mid­town. In the fer­ment of Pro­hi­bi­tion on the Low­er East Side, Mey­er Robin­son and Leo Star cre­ate the stick­i­ly sweet Man­is­che­witz wine. And a Jew­ish refugee from Iraq plants a grapevine in his back­yard on the Upper East Side, which now grows four sto­ries high, allow­ing him to make wine every year, as his fam­i­ly did in Bas­ra.

With humor and insight, Eat the City shows how in places like New York, peo­ple have always found ways to use their col­lec­tive hunger to build their own kind of city. 

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