An unprecedented 10-hour portrait of America's greatest city, "New York: A Documentary Film," which aired last month on PBS, is available on home video.
This five-cassette series is directed by Ric Burns, who co-produced "The Civil War" miniseries with his brother Ken. Ric Burns is also co-producer of "New York" with Lisa Ades and co-writer with James Sanders.
This look at New York as the virtual capital of the world goes all the way back to 1609 and works its way up to the city's position as a world center of commerce and culture.
Using newsreels, motion pictures, photos, prints and paintings, Burns and his editors have pieced together the storyline of a dominant and dynamic city. It points out how the names of streets and districts have become synonymous with various areas of human enterprise, such as Broadway signifying the theater; Soho, art; Wall Street, finance; Madison Avenue, advertising; Park Avenue, luxury; and Harlem, the African-American experience.
The five-volume boxed set lists for $99.98 and can be ordered at 1-800-752-9727.
The five two-hour episodes:
"The Country and the City" (1609-1825) chronicles the city's early history, including the arrival of the Dutch and the English; New York's role following the American Revolution; and the building of the Erie Canal.
"Order and Disorder" (1825-1865) shows how the city's artists and builders, such as poet Walt Whitman and Central Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, left their marks while the city grappled with conflicts spawned by the wave of German and Irish immigrants.
"Sunshine and Shadow" (1865-1898) deals with the extension of the city's boundaries to include Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island; the schism between the wealthy and the poor; and the corruption of political leaders such as Tammany Hall boss William M. Tweed.
"The Power and the People" (1898-1914) focuses on the first subways and skyscrapers built as 10 million immigrants arrived, and landmark legislation that responded to the plight of New York's most exploited citizens.
"Cosmopolis" (1914-1931) describes a period of dazzling growth that gave birth to signature skyscrapers, enabled Harlem to emerge as the center of the African-American experience and developed the city as the hub of the advertising, publishing and media industries, and featured artists such as
F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.