Foreword Reviews

Point of View New York City

A Visual Game of the City You Think You Know

This fun and fascinating travel guide to NYC spans the familiar—from unfamiliar perspectives—to the unique and obscure.

Some of the iconic landmarks of New York City—the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial—are instantly recognizable, even to those who have never been to New York. Photographer Janko Puls trains his eye (and his camera lens) on some of the not-as-easily identifiable sights of NYC in his photo book, Point of View New York: A Visual Game of the City You Think You Know.

The “game” of the book’s title is one of identifying the subjects of Puls’s photographs, which are often taken from strange and unfamiliar angles, making objects harder to recognize. Each color photo has a number that corresponds to an entry at the back of the book listing the answers, along with location, subject, and other explanatory details. Though the photos are well composed and technically impressive in their own right, equally appealing are these mini-essays that further illuminate bits of the city that might otherwise go unknown. For example, one entry describes the origin of a photograph’s subject: what seems to be a woman waving from an apartment window near High Line Park.

Since the abandoned elevated train tracks were converted into a flashy park in 2009, they have drawn an international tourist crowd and changed the neighborhood from seedy to ritzy. Japanese artist Hyemi Cho had an idea for dealing with the daily packs of tourists peeking into her window right next to the tracks: She painted this friendly self portrait and provided her neighbors and friends with similar protective shields.

The book travels off the beaten path, but there are plenty of famous sights included too, always photographed in a unique way. The photo locations are also identified on a map of New York City at the back of the book.

Point of View New York City offers the experience of seeing the city not from postcard panoramas but from the shifted perspectives of an adventurous pedestrian. Though the book provides entertainment for any reader, those most interested may be New Yorkers who haven’t explored the nooks and crannies of the city the way Puls has. Those readers might well find themselves with a whole new appreciation for the city they inhabit.

Reviewed by Peter Dabbene

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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