Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway: Iconic Trades of New York City

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9780978846046: Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway: Iconic Trades of New York City

From Broadway and Wall Street to the farthest reaches of New York's fabled subway system, and with numerous stops in between, this publication celebrates the occupational skills, crafts, knowledge, and traditions that have made New York legendary. Based on extensive interviews undertaken by Smithsonian Institution folklorists and researchers to document urban culture in the five boroughs at the turn of the millennium, Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway introduces readers to a remarkable cast of artisans, workers, laborers, and artists - talented individuals whose jobs create, maintain, and nurture the very heart of Gotham.
The book profiles workers from a wide variety of social and ethnic backgrounds, men and women who are eloquent in recounting their own stories, knowledgeable in relating the history of their beloved city, and avid about explaining the skills and challenges involved in practicing their chosen occupations. Their wisdom, humor, and humanity reflect the best of New York.

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About the Author:

Nancy Groce is a folklife specialist and ethnomusicologist at the Library of Congress's American Folklife Center. She has served as a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and managed four Smithsonian Folklife Festival exhibitions on the National Mall.

Review:

Those who love getting behind the scenes and under the hood should follow Nancy Groce as she sleuths her way through iconic New York workplaces. Her Studs Terkel-style interviews with bakers and brokers and subway conductors are engaging and intriguing. And if you thought the Chorus Line was the last word on backstage Broadway, think again. In the theater world, as in all the trades she explores, Groce's folkloric eye uncovers the many customs and rituals, rooted in Gotham's history, that make for cooperation as well as competition. A fun and fascinating tour of places you can't visit on your own. (Mike Wallace)

The book...reads like a guided tour of the city without the hassle of climbing on and off a tour bus. Even better, it’s a backstage tour, taking readers to places ordinary folk rarely visit, including a theatrical costume shop and the “homes” of people who live in subway tunnels....A deeply illuminating book that will prove equally interesting to New Yorkers and visitors to the city. (Booklist)

These are the stories that make the resulting book, Lox, Stocks and Backstage Broadway, hard to put aside until the final page. Author Nancy Groce has arranged snippets of interviews among detailed historical and cultural contexts to create a riveting collection of characters. These professionals are fascinating not despite their lack of fame but because of it; in a few key ways, they are just like us....Whether Groce is writing about day traders who wear silly hats, train conductors trying to deal with suicides on the tracks, or wig makers who produce the wigs for Saturday Night Live, her prose is respectful and, most importantly, entertaining. One of her great strengths as a writer is knowing when to get out of the way of words of the interviewees; she has a knack for perfectly balancing context with what workers have to say about themselves, their jobs, their families, and their city. (Foreword)

This lively tour of New York City trades will make city-dwellers (and those who've held on to steady work in the past year) smile, and just might provide some needed new year's inspiration for the unhappily unemployed....A grand undertaking, Groce’s volume makes an absorbing document of 'local culture in the global city.' (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)

Using an oral history approach...this book will have great appeal for all New York City buffs, as well as students of oral history or urban folklore. Anyone in search of a different career might find solace in knowing that New York continues to employ people in both traditional and not-so-traditional fields, always welcoming newcomers. (Library Journal)

Behind-the-scenes tales of how Wall Street traders, Broadway producers, subway operators and others perform their almost mythic jobs are sure to resonate with native New Yorkers and captivate visitors to the city. Most impressive is how Nancy Groce makes the familiar exotic, and thus provides new insights into the folkways of our contemporary urban culture. (Richard Kurin)

The book's portraits of nine occupations specific to New York City's particular blend of cultures and activities offer beautiful, well-chosen, and sometimes revelatory descriptions from the city's vast and ever-renewing store of folk traditions....The Broadway chapter offers the richest and most significant ethnographic description of the professional New York theater scene that I have read....Groce and her team do admirable work chronicling life and lor on the trading floor....A fulfilling read for both undergraduate and graduate students, Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway offers a compelling model for beginning to understand how people make their livings and tell their stories within a complex, interwoven, and possibly unique urban ecosystem. (Journal Of Folklore Research)

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ISBN 10: 0978846044 ISBN 13: 9780978846046
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