Alice Sparberg Alexiou

Author and Journalist


I am a third-generation New Yorker, historian, and journalist. No matter if you're writing about what happened yesterday, or 200 years ago, it's pretty much the same process. You gather together as many sources as time permits, analyse them, and presto! There's the story! I find my sources everywhere: walking on the streets, searching in archives, watching documentaries, talking to people, looking at old family photos, reading books, listening to the radio: you name it. Stories are everywhere.

I am the author of the first biography of the great urban thinker Jane Jacobs (Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary, Rutgers University Press, 2006), and The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose With It (St. Martin’s/​Thomas Dunne, 2010). In 2014, I coproduced a documentary based on The Flatiron for Thirteen/​WNET, a PBS affiliate, for the series “Treasures of New York.” In addition I am a longtime contributing editor to Lilith Magazine ("Independent, Jewish & Frankly Feminist.")

My new book DEVIL'S MILE: THE RICH, GRITTY HISTORY OF THE BOWERY will be published by St. Martin's Press in July 2018.



"A necessary look into Jacobs' thought and influence, equally admiring of both the flawed and the fantastic in her writing."

              -Fast Forward  Weekly (Calgary)

"Alexiou—a native New Yorker and the granddaughter of a man who for a time owned the Flatiron Building in partnership with Harry Helmsley—has written an engaging and informative account of the building's construction and its lasting place in New York's lore."

              –Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

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