introduction: A Philosophy of urbanism
1. Dates for films are release dates. For TV shows, I list the first year of broad-
cast, and for plays, the year of the first run, unless specifically noting revivals.
For novels and other books, I list the original publication date. In terms of
authorship, I list film directors, book and play authors, and musical composers.
2. M. Keith Booker uses the term “the long fifties” to cover the years 1946 to
1964, arguing that in terms of periodization it makes sense to link these peak
Cold War years. Of course, these are also the peak years of the baby boom that
begins during the Second World War and lasts until 1964.
3. My description of the apartment, as opposed to other rental properties,
is indebted to Cromley, especially where she discusses changes in legal and
everyday language to describe and differentiate apartments (5–6, 72, 91).
4. These vocal suites are akin to the turn-of-the-century genre of the “de-
scriptive specialty.” Jonathan Sterne cites descriptive specialties as precursors
to the connotative realism of cinematic audio arts: “Somewhere between a
contrived re-creation of an actual event and a vaudeville sketch, descriptive
specialties offered their listeners ‘tone pictures’ of different places and events”
(243–44). Jenkins’s Manhattan Tower offers a virtual soundtrack with music,
dialogue and effects, describing a pair of lovers’ two-day encounter in New
York. Another prominent vocal suite is Mel Torme’s California Suite (1949,
5. The list of Broadway plays here is especially select. In a search for Broad-
way plays set in apartments produced between 1945 and 1975, I found 118
titles. See the Internet Broadway Database at
6. In Altman’s formulation, genre functions like a language. The seman-
tics consist of the mise-en-scène, characters, visual style, and music, or the
specific “lexical choices” that make up the film and are typical of the genre.
The syntax is the grammar, or patterns of formation of those things; in other
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