The authors show how it was nothing new when Mayor Giuliani was unable to ban sales by immigrant mobile food vendors. The Guide takes us to the place where the Dutch tried to ban street side sales by Scottish peddlers 350 years ago, and where the great Fiorello La Guardia banned most of the pushcart salesmen at midcentury.
But Kamil and Wakin are not nostalgists or preservationists. Instead, their historical tours connect today's city with the snapshots of yesterday, blending social and cultural history with the evolution of different ethnic and cultural communities.
The Big Onion Guide includes ten walking tours, plus a 5-borough driving tour, peppered with informative sidebars, illustrations, and photos from the collection at the New-York Historical Society.