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EN 121: English Composition

About New York City assignments


Fulton Street Dock, Manhattan ... Digital ID: 482681. New York Public LibraryAre you looking for information on a New York City neighborhood, unique place, recent or historic event, or iconic local personality? This page will help you find books, articles, essays, and images.

While the page focuses on NYC-specific people, places and things, you can use some of the suggestions to find similar kinds of information for other locations.

Fulton Street Dock, Manhattan skyline, by photographer Berenice Abbott (11/26/1935) Source: NYPL Photostream on Flickr the Commons

Choose your words

When searching OneSearch for books, e-books, and DVDs, try these tips:

  •   Start with a word or phrase that describes your topic (e.g. Brooklyn Bridge; Bloomingdales) and search in "physical materials"ds"
  •   Click on the title of any item that looks relevant, scroll down in the record to see the "Subject" (like tags) listed.
  •   If there are other words that describe your topic (e.g. if you tried 'Grand Central Station', note that 'Grand Central Terminal' is the subject heading), then search again using those subjects to find more listings.
  •   Try searching broader terms (e.g. bridges New York; stores New York; shopping New York).
  •   Often you will need to try more than one subject heading or different ways of phrasing the same topic (e.g. apartment houses, architecture, historic buildings)

You can try a similar strategy when searching for articles, although here often your first, or most commonly-used, term will work. But it's always a good idea to look for -- or come up with -- other words to describe any topic.

News and NYC agency websites

Just a few of the many websites of local TV stations, newspapers, magazines, and city agencies.

Online articles through FIT Databases

When looking for articles, you can often be even more specific than when looking for a book.
For example, you might search for "Coney Island" when looking for a book, but try "Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster" when searching for articles.

Many FIT Library databases provide the full text of the magazine and newspaper articles, but some only index them; check the e-journal portal to see if the article is available in full from another online database or from a copy of the printed magazine at FIT. You may also be able to get the article you want by borrowing from another library (ILL/Interlibrary Loan)

NYC Library websites

The websites of the 3 New York City public library systems (New York Public Library, Queens Library, and Brooklyn Public Library) have some interesting local guides:

Have a question or comment about these guides? Contact: