Though the flow of Minichiello’s interviews is somewhat formulaic—a bit about the interviewee’s childhood, their arrival to the West Village, and their professional and personal experiences in the neighborhood then and now—he lets each subject’s spirit shine through in their own words. Crucial themes tie together multiple places, such as frustration with the gentrification that has made the area unaffordable for younger creatives and led to some interviewees losing their homes, but even then Minichiello captures a range of individual responses to these changes, and the overall mood of the interviews stays upbeat. Including activists and business owners illuminates the heart of the community, as organizations and physical shops hold the soul and history of a neighborhood as much as people do.
Each piece packs a strong punch in about 800 words, and Minichiello’s consistent style facilitates a clean, compact layout, enhanced by vivacious photo portraits of each subject. This volume makes an attractive coffee table read, ready to be browsed or searched for a favorite’s story. The choice not to re-edit the interviews lets the older ones serve delightful double nostalgic duty: once for the West Village of an earlier generation, and another for that of a decade ago
Takeaway: Lovers of New York history will find inspiration and insight in these profiles of West Village residents.
Great for fans of: John Strausbaugh’s The Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues, Jeff Kisseloff’s, You Must Remember This: An Oral History of Manhattan from the 1890s to World War II..
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A