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Flophouse: Life on the Bowery Hardcover – Aug 15 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (Aug. 15 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375503226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375503221
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 21.1 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,508,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

From the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, nearly 100,000 men found shelter each night in places with names like the Dandy, the Niagara, the Palace, and the Grand Windsor Hotel. These lodging houses, located in the infamous skid row known as the Bowery, are almost gone now, but those that remain provide a fascinating view of old New York and a vanishing era. Isay, an award-winning radio documentary producer, and Wang, a professional photographer, have captured this world in Flophouse. To present the story of this neglected population, the authors interviewed a number of residents in each of four remaining "flops." Each short narrative is told in the resident's own words and is accompanied by one or two full-page photographs. These are stories of immigrants, drug addicts, and men who are just down on their luck. There's John, who gets up every night at three in the morning to bleach his floor; Jack, who's been shooting dice for over 50 years; and Ted, the intellectual dishwasher, who set out to be nothing and succeeded. This compelling read is recommended for all libraries.
-DDeborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review


"This book should be required reading in every home across the country. It tells of the lost ones, the forgotten men who have given up on the American dream, and once we enter their crumbling, derelict world, our own world will never look the same to us again. Harvey Wang's photographs are superbly honest and raw. The testimonies gathered by David Isay and Stacy Abramson are little poems of desolation, vast hymns to the paradoxes of the human heart." --Paul Auster

"This book takes you to places you think you don't want to enter, to people you think you don't want to meet, to lives you think you don't want to live. And makes you rethink all your assumptions. It reveals the tremendous strength and humanity of those who are usually ignored. And as you pay attention, your humanity expands."
         -- Susan Stamberg, Special Correspondent, National Public Radio

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hempist on June 4 2004
Format: Hardcover
Flophouse Life on the Bowery showcases 4 cheap hotels in the Bowery district of New York City. These places are rented out by men & they are a cubicle type room the size of a jail cell. About 100 to 200 men live side by side in these little rooms in 4 or 5 story buildings that are built over a restaurant or some other kind of business. There's a community bathroom. The book explores 4 hotels & a few residents of each. Most of these people stay inside all day & watch tv, sleep, eat, & get drunk or do heroin. The subject of flophouses is interesting, however, this book really lacked substance. There wasn't enough information about the history of the hotels or the residents. It didn't devote much space to the people who own these hotels or the people who work there. Each page has a picture of one of the residents, his name, room number, & his "story" or any statements he wanted to make. Some of them were only a couple of paragraphs long! It's just a glimpse into their lives & doesn't offer any solutions to the problems these people face either.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By angry reggie on Feb. 14 2001
Format: Hardcover
i walk thru the pages of this book and the breeze of karma elevates my mind gentling me in the breath of blithe reverie... hmmm... ahhh... in the darkest places there is light. what can a meager eye really discern.we see the people of skid row with the eye of wang's camera.the camera hasn't the subtlety of the human eye,thus in all critique take into your own limitations. in the buffer of that quanta i peer thru veneer,and muse... this book is a realization of all our interest in all the great scenes we heard about.a lot of us have dreams about the circus some about wandering the maze of new york's underground labrynths and of course what life is like for those who have "gone wrong".flophouse is fledgling first look at life on the skids.an important work. a needed work.but i feel it is a might taste superficial.orderves before the main course.you could say it's a bit of a tease,cheescake.i long to know more i want a real meal.flophouse leaves me hungry.i have a confession to make i am one of the people portrayed in the book. so when i read the book,it's with a more authoritative point of reference.i see the book from inside out.i've lived with all the guys, smelled their beer and nicotine breath, and know whether or not they were lying to david when he interviewed them.i have more detailed and acute focus then the average reader so necessarily my analysis has to be more intense.my opinion of the work? for it's adventurousness 5 stars.for it's motiff and aesthetique another 5 stars.for it's depth of scrutiny though it is some what lacking i rate it 2and1/2 stars.and for it's overall impact i don't even dare to rate it.why? because firstly my mind is so uneven, it changes from day to day. secondarily events are so multidimensionally significant who am i to say?Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hampton on Oct. 26 2000
Format: Hardcover
Flophouse is a collections of pictures and words by and about people (mostly men) who ive in the dwingling number of flop houses on the bowery in New York. There are some 50 or so snapshots of these man the spread throughout four hotels, The white house, the providence, the andrews and the sunshine hotel. Don't let the names of these hotels fool you they're no four seasons. The men come from various races, creeds and generations. Some are old men who've lived on the bowery for tens of years and don't want to live to younger men who have hit rock bottom and are trying to get back on their feel again. Each man featured tells his own story about how they got to the bowery. Most of their stories are sobering and the pictures are even more powerful. Many of these men were woking productive members of society until something happened to them to throw them off track. It is hard to leave a book like this one unaffected. If your only opinion of the homeless and destitute is that they are lazy, mentally deranged or drug addicted men this book may change your perceptions. I left this book feeling very somber about how fragile life is and how easily it can be taken for granted yet also feeling uplifted in a strange way. Many of these man despite their conditions still continue to keep on living their lives and keeping a postive attitude. The men in flophouse are a dying breed of america's growing underclass.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Callie A. Collins on Feb. 3 2002
Format: Hardcover
Turn away. Turn quickly away. My first instinct upon glancing at this title was consistent with Middle Class America's natural reaction to social despair. Cautiously intrigued, I reached to the top shelf in my suburban neighborhood's local library, and pulled down into my comfortable suburban world an enlightening pictorial in brief. With mixed horror and wonder, increasingly awed at these victims of circumstances, reading "Flophouse: Life on the Bowery" was a real look, a first look, into sunken faces and disheveled lives. Black and white photos say the thousand words their subjects never will. The human condition, bare, innate, is plainly presented without pretense or censoring. How very similar, how frighteningly normal, were the lives of these men before the loss of job, wife, or sanity deposited them here, teetering on the brink between life and death, heaven and hell, New York City's Bowery. Read this book, count your blessings and your spare dimes.
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