August 13, 2016
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Biography of the Building

I was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. School field trips meant visiting some of the greatest museums in the world. Family outings to Sunday Broadway matinees. Real Chinese food in Chinatown, the great Peter Luger steakhouse. Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas extravaganza. Ice skating at Rockefeller Center, walking around looking at all the incredible Christmas displays in the store windows. Pretzels from street vendors in summer, roasted chestnuts in winter.

I was about 8 years old or so when the World Trade Center was built. I remember going there with my mom and having lunch at the top at the Windows on the World restaurant. The view was amazing.

I went to the University of Miami in 1975 and never really lived in New York again. A brief summer when I took algebra (for the second time) at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, right down the road from my house. I still visited a couple of times a year, I had family and friends there, usually in the Hamptons during the summer. But I never felt any need to go back to New York City. Until 9/11.

I got really homesick after that devastating day. A couple of years later, we took a family vacation to One World Trade centerManhattan. We stayed in a beautiful suite at the Helmsley Park Lane, overlooking Central Park. We did all the touristy things, some of which I’d never done like visit the Statue of Liberty, and most of which I hadn’t been to since I was a kid – the Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, Central Park, the Empire State Building, and the New York Public Library. We went to Chinatown and Little Italy. We went to see “Wicked” on Broadway with the amazing Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. It was a fantastic week and probably the best family vacation we’d ever taken. The trip would not have been complete without paying our respects at Ground Zero, which was a sobering sight indeed.

My husband and I have been visiting NYC pretty much every year since. A couple of years ago my son moved to Brooklyn, and the International Thriller Writers annual conference is in Manhattan every July, giving me even more reasons to go. We occasionally went by Ground Zero, which eventually became the building site of One World Trade Center – often with a trip across the street to Century 21 –  a little retail therapy at one of my favorite discount stores. And then finally, the building was complete.

reflecting pool ground zeroLast year we went to visit One World Trade Center. There were long lines for the museum tour, but as we walked passed the the reflecting pools and tower, I was already crying. I told my husband that I couldn’t do it and as always, he understood. We stayed for a while then went back uptown.

This book is an extraordinary look at this building. I hope to be able to visit the museum eventually, but for now, I’ll stick with the book.


From the publisher:

The behind-the-scenes story of the most extraordinary building in the world, from the bestselling author of Skyscrapers
In this groundbreaking history, bestselling author Judith Dupré chronicles the most astonishing architectural project in memory: One World Trade Center.
The new World Trade Center represents one of the most complex collaborations in human history. Nearly every state in the nation, a dozen countries around the world, and more than 25,000 workers helped raise the tower, which consumed ninety million pounds of steel, one million square feet of glass, and enough concrete to pave a sidewalk from New York to Chicago.
With more than seventy interviews with the people most intimately involved, and unprecedented access to the building site, suppliers, and archives, Dupré unfurls the definitive story of fourteen years of conflict and controversy-and its triumphant resolution.
This fascinating, oversize book delivers new insight into the 1,776-foot-tall engineering marvel, from design and excavation through the final placement of its spire. It offers:
  • Access to the minds of world-class architects, engineers, ironworkers, and other tradespeople
  • Panoramas of New York from One World Observatory-1,268 feet above the earth
  • Dramatic cutaways that show the building’s advanced structural technologies
  • A time-lapse montage showing the evolution of the sixteen-acre site
  • Chronologies tracking design, construction, and financial milestones, with rare historic photographs
It also features extensive tour of the entire Trade Center, including in-depth chapters on Two, Three, Four, and Seven World Trade Center; the National September 11 Memorial & Museum; Liberty Park; St. Nicholas National Shrine; and the soaring Transportation Hub.
One World Trade Center is the only book authorized by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and the one book necessary to understand the new World Trade Center in its totality. This is a must-have celebration of American resilience and ingenuity for all who are invested in the rebuilding of Ground Zero.
You may be surprised by what you find inside-and you will undoubtedly be inspired.


08/16  Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER by Judith Dupré. Little, Brown and Company (April 26, 2016). ISBN 978-0316336314. 304p.





July 30, 2016
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121 Ingenious Tips to Endure Cramped Planes, Car Trouble, Awful Hotels, and Other Trips from Hell


I  wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but probably not what it was. These are what are popularly called “life hacks,” from tampon ear plugs to recharging a dead battery with red wine. That last tip was just odd – I would much rather call the auto club and drink the red wine while I waited. But I digress.

If you’re a camper, be it RV or roughing it, a good chunk of the book is devoted to you. With tips like How to Protect a Trailer Hitch with a Tennis Ball, How to Clean Road Grime from the Windshield with Coca-Cola, How to Make a Barbecue Grill from a Coffee Can and a Rake, How to Store Spices in Tic Tac Boxes, and many more.

Those of you who enjoy cruising may want to know How to Sneak Liquor Aboard with Food Coloring, How to Hide Your Money in a Potato Chip Bag, or for those stranded at sea, How to Deodorize a Nonworking Toilet with Coffee. Hotel travelers may want to know How to Hide Valuables in a Comfy Chair, How to Seal Curtains Shut with Clothes Hangers, and my personal favorite, How to Electrocute an Intruder with a Table Lamp – I didn’t hear about that at ThrillerFest!

You get the idea. The book is divided by method of travel from the aforementioned hotels, camping and cruising to trains, buses, cars, airplanes and even packing tricks. It’s a great gift book for a friend who travels a lot or for those who enjoy reading about unusual ways to do things you didn’t even realize you may need to do.


07/16  Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

LAST-MINUTE TRAVEL SECRETS by Joey Green. Chicago Review Press (May 1, 2016). ISBN 978-1613735046. 240p.




ROADFOOD by Jane & Michael Stern

July 26, 2014

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The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 900 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More (9th edition)

Long before Guy Fieri hit the road (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,) indeed long before there was even a Food Network, Jane and Michael Stern took to the road to find the best places to eat on a coast to coast drive. Their first edition of Roadfood came out in 1978 and was subtitled, “the coast to coast guide to over 400 of america’s great inexpensive regional restaurants all within 10 miles of a major highway.” Their 9th edition of this classic book now includes more than twice that number of restaurants.

The first thing I looked for was Florida restaurants. That’s where I live, and most of my road trips extend to traveling around my state. Sadly, south Florida was seriously under-represented here, but the rest of the state seems pretty well covered.

That said, if I was driving across the country, I would treasure these recommendations. You will not find any chain restaurants here, but rather the best places that locals frequent.

The Sterns include location information, website and phone numbers, a brief history of the restaurant, a short review, suggested menu items, and pricing guidelines. Most restaurants are inexpensive, this is not the book  for the best restaurants in major cities. For instance, the few New York City restaurants recommended include Katz’s Deli (think When Harry Met Sally) and John’s of Bleeker Street (terrific pizza,) not Per Se, Peter Lugers or El Posto.

The book is divided into geographical regions – for instance Florida is in the “Deep South.” Other regions include New England, Mid-Atlantic (New York is here,) Mid-South, Midwest, Southwest, Great Plains and West Coast. The back of the book includes a quick guide, an alphabetical listing of restaurants by region.

Even with the price of gas, people still love road trips. And this is the best book you can take along for the ride.

7/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ROADFOOD by Jane & Michael Stern. Clarkson Potter; 9 edition (March 4, 2014). ISBN 978-0770434526. 640p.