City of Dreams

Save Ellis Island

City of Dreams by Tyler Anbinder


City of Dreams is an inspiring, and defining account of New York’s both famous and forgotten immigrants: the young man from the Caribbean who relocated to New York and became a Founding Father; an Italian immigrant who toiled for years at railroad track maintenance before achieving his dream of becoming a nationally renowned poet; Russian-born Emma Goldman, who condoned the murder of American industrialists as a means of aiding downtrodden workers; Dominican immigrant Oscar de la Renta, who dressed first ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama.

Over ten years in the making, Tyler Anbinder’s story is one of innovators and artists, revolutionaries and rioters, staggering deprivation and soaring triumphs. Today’s immigrants are really no different from those who have come to America in centuries past—and their story has never before been told with such breadth of scope, lavish research, and resounding spirit.


Tyler Anbinder is an emeritus professor of history at George Washington University, where he taught courses on the history of American immigration and the American Civil War era. He is the author of three award-winning books: Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings and the Politics of the 1850s (1992); Five Points: The Nineteenth-Century New York Neighborhood that Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections, and Became the World’s Most Notorious Slum (2001); and City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York. Anbinder has won two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and served as the Fulbright Thomas Jefferson Distinguished professor of History at the University of Utrecht. He is currently working on “The Great Famine and the Making of Irish New York,” a history of the Irish Famine refugees in New York City and beyond.

All proceeds from the book go directly to supporting Save Ellis Island's mission to restore the buildings in the Historic Hospital Complex.


  • Publisher: ‎Mariner Books; Reprint edition (October 10, 2017)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Paperback: ‎768 pages
  • Item Weight: ‎1.67 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎6 x 1.89 x 9 inches

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