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Download Downtown: My Manhattan Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Downtown: My Manhattan Audiobook, by Pete Hamill Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (555 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pete Hamill Narrator: Pete Hamill Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2005 ISBN: 9781594831355
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In Downtown, Hamill leads us on an unforgettable journey through the city he loves, from the island’s southern tip to 42nd Street, combining a moving memoir of his days and nights in New York with a passionate history of its most enduring places and people. From the Battery’s traces of the early port to Washington Square’s ghosts of executed convicts and well-heeled Knickerbockers; from the Five Points, once the most dangerous and squalid slum in America, to the mansions of the robber barons on “the Fifth Avenue;” from the Bowery of the 1860s, the vibrant heart of the city’s theater world, to the Village of the 1960s, with its festival-like street life, this is downtown as we’ve never seen it before.

Hamill weaves his own memories of Manhattan with the liveliest moments from its past and points out the hints of that past living on in the city of today, fueling the ever-present nostalgia of its inhabitants. Hamill introduces us to the New Yorkers who have left indelible marks: Peter Stuyvesant and John Jacob Astor, Stanford White and George Templeton Strong, Edith Wharton and Henry James, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, W. H. Auden and Allen Ginsberg, Boss Tweed and Fiorello La Guardia, Jimi Hendrix and Thelonious Monk, and scores of others. He also takes us to the eateries, saloons, theaters, movie houses, bookstores, and street corners they, and he, once frequented, whether still standing or existing only in memory.

Through the city’s transformations, the pulse of Pete Hamill’s brilliant voice melds with the pulse that drives New York, that mixture of daring, greed, anger, rebellion, hope, entrepreneurialism, and longing that never fades. Written by native son who has lived through some of New York City’s most historic moments, Downtown is an extraordinary celebration of the magnificent, haunted place that Hamill continues to call home and that people from all over the country and the world have come to call their own as well.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Written with insight, humor and, most of all, a deep love of the Big Apple.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Hamill misses little in his wry accounting of a city he calls home.” 

    AudioFile

  • “A finely etched and hand-colored portrait from one of those rare reporters who has lived long and hard in his beat.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A marvelous read for anyone who has a hometown.” 

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 2/16/2014

    " Nostalgic fiction of the history of Manhattan. Well done!. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 2/6/2014

    " Absolutely fantastic. Equal parts travel guide, history book, and memoir. Hamill takes his readers along on a walk uptown from the battery to Times Square, recounting historical notes on places he passes and sharing personal attachments to each place, spinning off into memories of a writer's life in New York. A New Yorker to the bone, Hamill never loses his sense of wonder at the beat and pulse of the city. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 1/23/2014

    " I enjoyed this history of downtown Manhattan but felt like he could have omitted 50 pages. I really enjoyed reading about the early history of the island and how the city grew but felt like in the last third of the book, Hamill told the same story over and over. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenna | 1/22/2014

    " Aside from his disappointingly sweeping dismissal of New York's current young population, this was a total gem. I loved the rest of the book so much that I'm willing to let it go. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chaz Hudak | 12/14/2013

    " holy shit can pete hamill write. if you love manhattan then do yourself a favor and read this book. nuff said. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 11/30/2013

    " I LOVE this book. Have yet to buy it, but oh yes, I WILL buy it. The historical facts mixed with the author's anecdotes really make everything come to life. It's interesting to know where some of the places referenced in the book are located and to learn so much about these places that you never knew. Having some knowledge of the layout of New York is helpful. I would recommend this book, especially for those wanting to explore the city. It's a great little non-touristy tourist book, if you choose to make it that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jaime | 11/27/2013

    " I wish I could be the Pete Hamill of Boston. He obviously loves his city and he makes you love it too. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Julie | 11/15/2013

    " This is an unremarkable read full of cliches about the city and its indominatable immigrant spirit. We need more facts and less Fodor's "character of a place" essay. The best part is when he quotes the first couple of paragraphs of MOBY DICK. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John Barth | 11/9/2013

    " I listened to this from Audible. Hamill's vice really makes this short book work...I want to walk with him around Manhattan as he points out the history and his own memories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise | 10/24/2013

    " Having recently visited New York, I found this book interesting and enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 bookczuk | 10/22/2013

    " Splendiferous book, and a great thing to be reading while in New York City. I learned a great deal, and have sent quoted passages to guyczuk, who was in NYC this summer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 10/20/2013

    " Amazing Pete Hamill, as usual! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mcooksey7 | 9/15/2013

    " I am reading this now. As a NYC junkie, it's fascinating. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristin | 8/15/2013

    " I had a hard time finishing this book. Unless you are really into the history of Manhattan you might want to skip it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pudds Downing | 7/25/2013

    " I loved the little secrets of Manhattan that I picked up from this book. They greatly enhanced my recent visit to NYC? And Pete Hamill's prose is lovely, almost poetry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Raquel | 6/7/2013

    " An author's sentimental love affair with New York, but all in a good way. I took this book on a walking tour of the battery last weekend and it was incredibley interesting. Washington Square Park is next. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kg4jbj | 4/14/2013

    " I'm only a few pages into this book, but I'm enjoying it immensely. He presents a walking narrative of the city, starting at Battery Park, then to One Broadway. I have this checked out from the library, but will probably purchase my own copy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joey | 3/13/2013

    " I was expecting a travel guide or at least more of a series of stories of his own about the places he frequented. This is more of a serious, in depth history of New York. It is a great book for someone interested in history, but it was not my cup of tea. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandra Dark | 3/6/2013

    " Nobody knows New York City like Pete Hamill. Reading this was like a walk through history, through today, and through Hamill's own heart. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joseph | 2/4/2013

    " This book is pretty darn good. Esp. the fact that i got it for $1. It explors NYC from a reporter's point of view, and he just does a great job. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 10/12/2012

    " If you want a great history of New York, this is the book to read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth Miller | 7/30/2012

    " Makes me want to live in Manhatten! It's a good story, and a "must read" for anyone preparing to visit the city. Great history of the town. The author's love for NY clearly shows. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Seth | 6/20/2012

    " A great history lesson intertwined with his emotional experiences growing up in NYC. He feels like he's lost the city he loves, and this is a great marker of time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 5/22/2012

    " A loveingly reverent paean to home. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marge | 2/12/2012

    " I listened to this, and I learned a lot about the changing cityscape of New York, over the last century. Hamill clearly loves Manhattan, and that love is evident throughout. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Winsome | 11/14/2011

    " wanna b a downtown girl "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phaedra221 | 8/21/2011

    " If you were born and raised in Brooklyn or Manhattan, this book becomes part of you and if you haven't walked the streets he mentioned, you sure want to get out there and do so. He brings the history on downtown Manhattan to life and makes you value NYC more. Hats off to Hamill for this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlye | 1/30/2011

    " This book was great. It was written beautifully and cohesively, with history and present woven together as he walks through Downtown Manhattan. Everything Hamill says is how I feel about New York. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dick | 1/22/2011

    " A must read for New Yorkers. History woven into loving personal tour; 9/11 into some perspective; all in Hamill's inimitable style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 9/28/2010

    " Makes me want to live in Manhatten! It's a good story, and a "must read" for anyone preparing to visit the city. Great history of the town. The author's love for NY clearly shows. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 9/26/2010

    " Just love it! This is the best "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise | 8/22/2010

    " Having recently visited New York, I found this book interesting and enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 7/28/2010

    " An immensely clear view of the history (both personal and general) of Pete Hamill's "downtown Manhattan." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolin | 7/15/2010

    " This book reads like a novel, traveling through New York City history, without being to dry. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sue | 5/16/2010

    " The book was poorly organized, so hard to follow. What I will remember is how several horrible areas of New York were cleaned-up and completely transformed from being dangerous places full of violence, gangs, and drugs to being parks, etc. It really gives you hope in these crazy times! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marshaferz | 5/15/2010

    " Sadly, works neither as a history nor as a memoir. It's not enough of either. I like the writing style, but found myself skimming. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chaz | 2/3/2010

    " holy shit can pete hamill write. if you love manhattan then do yourself a favor and read this book. nuff said. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jaime | 1/29/2010

    " I wish I could be the Pete Hamill of Boston. He obviously loves his city and he makes you love it too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug | 1/14/2010

    " A love song for downtown manhattan from Pete Hamill. Though occasionally a over-breathless, it's still a fun read and good introduction to estoeric New York City history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 12/7/2009

    " Loved this memoire about Hamill's love affair with his hometown. Loaded with history so much so that when I ended the book I restarted the first few chapters to remind myself about all the cool stuff I had forgotten from overload! What a great read! "

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About the Author
Author Pete Hamill

Pete Hamill is a novelist, journalist, editor, and screenwriter. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling novels Forever and Snow in August and the bestselling memoir A Drinking Life. He writes a column for the New York Daily News and lives in New York City.