Friends With Yogi, and Other Tales

Thane Rosenbaum in The New York Times, March 23, 2012

Media Source

JUST in time for opening day, Harvey Araton, a sports reporter for The New York Times, recalls the enduring friendship between the Yankees’ Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry.

“Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry first crossed paths in spring training of 1976,” Mr. Araton writes in “Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry and Baseball’s Greatest Gift” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26). He continues: “Guidry, 25, was trying to build a future for himself as a major-league pitcher before he was too old to be considered a prospect. Berra was a crown jewel of the Yankees’ past, returning as Billy Martin’s bench coach, the first such appointment in the history of the game. For Berra, it was not love at first sight — or strike.”

Guidry went on to play for the Yankees for his entire career, helping to lead the team to World Series wins in 1977 and 1978. Mr. Araton recounts the evolution of his relationship with Berra, quoting a teammate, Goose Gossage: “The one thing Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry have most in common and is obvious to everyone is that they are so unaffected by fame that you have to wonder if they even know that they were great players.”

New York is a capital of finance, media and fashion. “Made in New York: Handcrafted Works by Master Artisans” (Rizzoli, $29.95) gives the city’s bookbinders, glass blowers, hatters, letterpress printers, mannequin makers and silversmiths their due, too.

The book is by a couple, Nathalie and Ted Sann, who practice what they preach. Not just a writer, Ms. Sann is a master embroiderer, gilder and seamstress. Mr. Sann, who took the book’s many photographs, is a former advertising executive who builds guitars and boats. Their lavishly illustrated guide reveals a cross-section of skillful and dedicated craftsmen working in and near New York.

“Their drive and passion,” the authors write, “made us think of all the people out there commuting to jobs they don’t necessarily enjoy, who — had they been trained differently in a society that both respected and protected artisans — might be running to work instead of trudging.”

What better time than spring for “The Seasons of New York” (Universe, $24.95), Charles J. Ziga’s ambrosial visual ode to the city? In vivid color, Mr. Ziga, a graphic designer who is the author of two other books of photographs, captures familiar and more inconspicuous vistas of New York’s seasonal rituals.

“The best of New York is free and will leave you with lasting memories,” Mr. Ziga writes, in a timely appreciation for seasoned New Yorkers and newcomers alike.

Speaking of which, what better season for walking? National Geographic Books has published “Walking New York: The Best of the City” ($14.95), one in a series of guides to world capitals. Accompanied by neighborhood maps and illustrations, the pocket-size book includes local haunts as well as iconic landmarks.

Describing “The Stranger Within Sarah Stein” (Texas Tech University Press, $19.95), by Thane Rosenbaum, as just a children’s book would be selling it short. Professor Rosenbaum, who teaches at Fordham Law School, has written a charming, New York-centric fantasy about a precocious 12-year-old girl whose identity is fractured by the separation of her parents. Her perspective becomes further divided as she learns the back story of her grandmother’s Holocaust legacy and befriends a homeless man who survived 9/11.

The book nods to “Alice in Wonderland” in its epigraph and then begins: “There are two kinds of strangers — the ones who are strange, like weird, and that’s why you’re not supposed to talk to them; and the other kind, the people who you just don’t know. The weird ones are different and sometimes a little creepy. But the strangers you don’t know might one day become a friend.”