Philip Lopate’s book about the seldom seen perimeter of New York reminds me a lot of the city itself. It is unfocused, navel-gazing, didactic, stuck in the past, obsessed with the future, revisionist just for the hell of it and chock full of fascinating moments at nearly every turn. Lopate is an obnoxious, even pedantic writer. Plus (and I think he probably knows this) he’s a little bit racist. He’s also something of an adventurer, so long as he can always fall back and hail a cab. For all these reasons and more, I name “Waterfront” the most enjoyable book on New York City I’ve ever read. It is also pretty informative — although mostly informative about the weird little things Lopate chooses to focus on. But hey — it’s his book. Anyone who lives here and considers themself something of an “urbanist” will be unable to put this thing down.