Sam Roberts' 'A History of New York in 50 Objects' provides a material overview of the city from 11,000 B.C. to 2012. Each entry unveils a wealth of culture, many of which could not have been predicted given the pedestrian depictions of artichokes, seasoned bagels and coffee cups.
Roberts' undertaking was inspired by BBC radio's 'A History of the World in 100 Objects.' While the author narrowed down his research to the number 50, it still manages to take note of critical New Yorker developments.
Among the topics reviewed are the popularity of oysters in the 1600s and the underhanded importation of artichokes to New York by the notorious gangster Ciro Terranova. Rich images of the city's adventurous past come to live at once.