arts 03.5.14

A Mod Portrait of the City

The Prague Spring of 1968 left a curious legacy. New York: A Mod Portrait of the City was a book published in Czechoslovakia in that year and it is the most adorable book about NYC you've never seen.

Illustrated by Vladímir Fuka, with text by Zdenĕk Mahler, the book larks around the city through 152 illustrations, with stops including the TWA terminal, the Guggenheim, Central Park and Coney Island.

After the Prague Spring was crushed, though, the secret police had no use for this paean to a capitalist capital and destroyed all the copies they could get their hands on. Fortunately, they did not find the copy of the manuscript in Mr. Mahler's attic—but his grandson recently did and begged his grandfather to allow the book to be republished. Happy ending: next week, it's back in print, slightly updated. A few of the mod portraits:

West Fourth Street

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