Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
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Hello, and happy weekend!
This week, I wanted to shout out Nina Hälker from Hamburg, Germany, who responded to my call-out in the last edition of Navigator. She suggested a book called The Assistants by Camille Perri, which is set in New York. “[It] tells you much about the city without being a typical city or urban novel,” Hälker wrote in her email. She noted that the book came to her through her girlfriend Therese—a “book lover, city lover, humans lover,” who is always recommending new reads to her loved ones.
What we’ve been writing:
The football world cup is upon us! CityLab’s Europe correspondent Feargus O’Sullivan explored how Iceland is feeling after it qualified for the first time in history. “People are now saying, ‘Oh, we can make plans! We can invest in things like sports facilities; really build things up,’” Borghildur Sturludóttir, an architect in the Reykjavik planning department, told Feargus.
Also, we just launched a series called “Public Access,” which elevates quirky videos—old and new—that tell stories about place. The first video, written up by Mark Byrnes, is from 1966 and features a song commemorating Montreal's newly-opened metro. It goes something like this: “This tube is your tube, this tube is my tube…”
Other stories from us: “Pizza delivery and infrastructure repair go together like ham and pineapple.” ¤ What the raccoon that scaled the skyscraper in St. Paul tells us about cities. ¤ Meet the immigrant who mapped Childish Gambino’s Atlanta. ¤ R.I.P., Anthony Bourdain, urbanist and ideal visitor. ¤ What’s it like to audition for a busking spot in the New York Subway? ¤
What we’ve been taking in:
Is Kanye West’s “Ye”… a soundtrack for gentrifiers? (VerySmartBrothas) ¤ The origin story of Big Chicks, Chicago’s iconic Northside gay bar. (Bon Appétit) ¤ “On a literal level, that’s all the two were fighting about: just 20 feet of gravelly beach.” (Outside) ¤ Japanese family life, stuffed into a one-room apartment in Kobe. (New Yorker) ¤ The Casteless Collective: a band of radical musicians making waves in Chennai, and taking on centuries-old oppression. (Scroll India) ¤
Finally, we were swept off our feet by this New York Times Magazine project documenting love and intimacy around the city, over a single day: A members-only sex party in Clinton Hill at 1:04 a.m.; a familiar dance at 3:30 a.m.; a stroll down Nostrand Avenue at 8:05 a.m.; subway romances at 1:04 p.m.; at 5:31 p.m., a visit with a dear one at Rikers; love on both sides of the “Muslim ban” at 7:54 p.m. These and other stories of sometimes short-lived, sometimes enduring connections, come together in a collage-like portrait of the city.
Pssst…Do you have any juicy anecdotes about serendipitous encounters or a tale of love and loss in your city? Send them over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over and out,