Travel & Pictorial

New York: A Mod Portrait of the City

Exactly half a century old, this timeless illustrated classic artfully captures the "Mad Men" era of New York City for readers of all ages. The unique essence of New York City is poetically celebrated in Vladimir Fuka's brilliant, colorful illustrations and collages and Zdenek Mahler's playful accompanying narrative. The book takes readers on a charming journey of discovery through the magnificent metropolis's architectural landmarks, cultural hot spots, and neighborhoods, from uptown to downtown, from Wall Street to Coney Island, and the Guggenheim Museum to Yankee Stadium. Interesting historical fun facts about the city and its inhabitants are combined with descriptions of the reality of everyday New York.

New York was created in 1964 and first printed in the former Czechoslovakia in 1968, but the entire print run was pulped by the secret police after Fuka escaped to the United States. The book was finally brought to life when Mahler's grandson discovered a surviving copy in his attic. Fifty years later, it remains as fresh as ever and includes updated facts for today. This beautiful, vintage treasure will delight New Yorkers and tourists of all ages.

About The Author

Vladimir Fuka (1926-1977) is a Czech illustrator, graphic artist, painter, and sculptor. In the 1950s and '60s, Fuka created a number of innovative books for both children and adults and has won numerous international awards. Zdenek Mahler is a writer of books for children and adults, and screenplays for theater, film, and television. He was an advisor in the preparations of Milos Forman's film Amadeus and Goya's Ghosts, and has been a writer and moderator of popular educational programs.

  • Publish Date: March 11, 2014
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Travel - United States - Northeast - Middle Atlantic (NJ, NY, PA)
  • Publisher: Universe
  • Trim Size: 8 x 9
  • Pages: 128
  • US Price: $24.95
  • CDN Price: $24.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-7893-2727-7


New York: A Mod Portrait is more than a picture book—its is one of the most imaginative and beautiful travel guides ever written, and a charming companion for anyone journeying to the Big Apple. While the illustrations and punchy graphics may serve as a time capsule taking us back to midcentury NYC, certain elements have been updated to keep the book relevant—the book now lists the Freedom Tower…New York A Mod Portrait may be a very playful portrayal of the city, but the real achievement is how the book really touches the heart and soul of the city…this book will ignite the same exhilaration and enchantment felt upon arriving here for the very first time.” -ArtDaily

"In 1964, Vladimír Fuka captured the brilliance of New York in a book of drawings. All of the copies were thought to be destroyed—until now!" -Town & Country

"In 1968, an innocent guidebook fell victim to the Cold War. Its whimsical drawings and poetic lines devoted to New York City were destroyed by the Czechoslovakian secret police—all but one copy, that is. Nearly fifty years later, the grandson of its author found the original manuscript buried in an old wardrobe, and this week, it entered American circulation for the first time ever. What Mahler and his friend, an artist named Vladímir Fuka, had drafted some 44 years ago was a whimsical, poetic guide to NYC called, New York: A Mod Portrait of the City." ~Daily Beast

"The Prague Spring of 1968 left a curious legacy. New York: A Mod Portrait of the City was a book published in Czechoslovakia in that year and it is the most adorable book about NYC you've never seen... Happy ending: next week, it's back in print, slightly updated." -Manhattan Users Guide

"And so a pretty, 1960s era guidebook to New York is now the perfect coffee table book." -Gothamist

"Mahler and Fuka's books are particularly well-suited to travel types as they liked to illustrate the buildings, parks, public institutions, and people of world cities. New York: A Mod Portrait of the City is a "found" work."