A Thrilling Portrait of 1920s NYC

Mob boss/founder Luciano
is among the cast of characters
populating "Capital of the World..."
David Wallace makes a compelling and appealing case for the status he applies to New York City in “Capital of the World: A Portrait of New York City in the Roaring Twenties” (Lyons Press, $24.95), which can be read about at this link to NYTimes.com.

Mafia boss Charles Luciano is among the figures described in the book portraying New York in the 1920s.

The title might be a stretch (as is the cover depicting the silver-spired Chrysler Building, which wasn’t completed until after the decade ended), notes NYTimes.com.


Still, Wallace’s view of the era through the eyes of the numerouscolorful characters who inhabited lends weight to his quite believable premise.

From the book, as quoted by the NYTimes.com:

“It was the Twenties and we had to be smarty,” Dorothy Parker recalled, and, as Harold Ross of The New Yorker advised, “if you can’t be funny, be interesting.”

During that era, Mayor James J. Walker “brought New York to life in one person,” the columnist Ed Sullivan wrote; Texas Guinan regularly greeted customers at her nightclub with “Hello, sucker”; and the gambler/ nob bookkeeper Meyer Lansky promised his colleagues in crime: “Don’t worry, don’t worry. Look at the Astors and the Vanderbilts. They were the worst of thieves — and now look at them. It’s just a matter of time."


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