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Every Person in New York

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Jason Polan is on a mission to draw every person in New York, from cab drivers to celebrities. He draws people eating at Taco Bell, admiring paintings at the Museum of Modern Art, and sleeping on the subway. With a foreword by Kristen Wiig, Every Person in New York, Volume 1 collects thousands of Polan's energetic drawings in one chunky book. As full as a phone book and as Jason Polan is on a mission to draw every person in New York, from cab drivers to celebrities. He draws people eating at Taco Bell, admiring paintings at the Museum of Modern Art, and sleeping on the subway. With a foreword by Kristen Wiig, Every Person in New York, Volume 1 collects thousands of Polan's energetic drawings in one chunky book. As full as a phone book and as invigorating as a walk down a bustling New York street, this is a new kind of love letter to a beloved city and the people who live there.


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Jason Polan is on a mission to draw every person in New York, from cab drivers to celebrities. He draws people eating at Taco Bell, admiring paintings at the Museum of Modern Art, and sleeping on the subway. With a foreword by Kristen Wiig, Every Person in New York, Volume 1 collects thousands of Polan's energetic drawings in one chunky book. As full as a phone book and as Jason Polan is on a mission to draw every person in New York, from cab drivers to celebrities. He draws people eating at Taco Bell, admiring paintings at the Museum of Modern Art, and sleeping on the subway. With a foreword by Kristen Wiig, Every Person in New York, Volume 1 collects thousands of Polan's energetic drawings in one chunky book. As full as a phone book and as invigorating as a walk down a bustling New York street, this is a new kind of love letter to a beloved city and the people who live there.

30 review for Every Person in New York

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    This large book is a compilation of the black and white drawings from the author's sketchbooks. Per the title, he sketches people he sees, but stops sketching them when they move or are out of sight. That makes for dynamic loose lines, and I appreciated that some people were mere squiggles - as if they had just whizzed past him. NYC has lots of famous people, and he sketches many of them - though almost none recognizable if not for his annotations. I liked browsing through this collection - it w This large book is a compilation of the black and white drawings from the author's sketchbooks. Per the title, he sketches people he sees, but stops sketching them when they move or are out of sight. That makes for dynamic loose lines, and I appreciated that some people were mere squiggles - as if they had just whizzed past him. NYC has lots of famous people, and he sketches many of them - though almost none recognizable if not for his annotations. I liked browsing through this collection - it was almost like flipping through someone's sketchbook.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    I have enjoyed this book so much. I try to develop a backstory for each person in the book. I try to picture Polan drawing each one. I literally laughed out loud with some of the captions. I think all ages and all people will love this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cayla Gao

    Main takeaways: - Surprised he recognized and saw so many celebrities in a pretty short span of time, including multiple sightings of the same celebs - A lot of people cutting their nails on subways ew - He went to Taco Bell, MOMA, and Housing Works Bookstore a lot - Many endearing, strange "only in nyc" moments sprinkled throughout the book Also so sad that he passed, can tell that he was a curious, kind, hard-working person. Main takeaways: - Surprised he recognized and saw so many celebrities in a pretty short span of time, including multiple sightings of the same celebs - A lot of people cutting their nails on subways ew - He went to Taco Bell, MOMA, and Housing Works Bookstore a lot - Many endearing, strange "only in nyc" moments sprinkled throughout the book Also so sad that he passed, can tell that he was a curious, kind, hard-working person.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Felix Gomez

    This book was so earnest it made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Not so much a narrative but more a look into Polan's work and evolution over time. That said, I'm biased because I really like Jason Polan's work. Also, his drawings of Reggie Watts made me laugh. Not so much a narrative but more a look into Polan's work and evolution over time. That said, I'm biased because I really like Jason Polan's work. Also, his drawings of Reggie Watts made me laugh.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    In how few (drawing) lines can you tell a story? With what short squiggles can you capture a person? Neat project.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Billy

    I've read similar concept books before, where someone draws a comic strip of each day of their life or just chronicles a sketch book of New York, but this one rose above and never lost momentum for me despite existing without an arc. At times, it brought me to tears with its simple reflection of the beauty and chaos that is everyday life in New York. And then the extra layer of celebrity sighting--especially minor celebrities--add more fun on top. How many times can a person cross paths with Mir I've read similar concept books before, where someone draws a comic strip of each day of their life or just chronicles a sketch book of New York, but this one rose above and never lost momentum for me despite existing without an arc. At times, it brought me to tears with its simple reflection of the beauty and chaos that is everyday life in New York. And then the extra layer of celebrity sighting--especially minor celebrities--add more fun on top. How many times can a person cross paths with Miranda July? Seriously, has anyone attempted to tackle that question? Even Miranda July hasn't! But this book might come the closest. Oh duh, Humans of New York. This is like an unpretentious Humans of New York.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Kelleher

    Honestly I cannot say I enjoyed this book too much. When I first learned of it I thought it sounded super interesting and was excited to read it. It turned out for me to be super boring. Many of the drawings are literally just lines, you cannot even tell it's supposed to be a person. There were very few sketches that actually looked somewhat realistic to me. Most of the "celebrity sightings" are just squiggles, honestly I don't even believe it was them due to almost none of them looking like a p Honestly I cannot say I enjoyed this book too much. When I first learned of it I thought it sounded super interesting and was excited to read it. It turned out for me to be super boring. Many of the drawings are literally just lines, you cannot even tell it's supposed to be a person. There were very few sketches that actually looked somewhat realistic to me. Most of the "celebrity sightings" are just squiggles, honestly I don't even believe it was them due to almost none of them looking like a person.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I didn't realize how many artists/musicians/celebrities live in New York City. I also enjoyed seeing what New Yorkers do on a day to day basis. Apparently, clippling your nails in the subway is a thing..who knew? I can't to visit New York and see New Yorkers for myself. I didn't realize how many artists/musicians/celebrities live in New York City. I also enjoyed seeing what New Yorkers do on a day to day basis. Apparently, clippling your nails in the subway is a thing..who knew? I can't to visit New York and see New Yorkers for myself.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I don't mean to yuck anyone's yum but... this would have been better as an Instagram account. It didn't need to be a book. I don't mean to yuck anyone's yum but... this would have been better as an Instagram account. It didn't need to be a book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    E.B.

    This book made me miss both New York City and Jason Polan’s drawings so much.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Altary

    A fun sketchbook of the familiar New Yorkers in action. It's a large volume that covers many neighborhoods in the city. A fun sketchbook of the familiar New Yorkers in action. It's a large volume that covers many neighborhoods in the city.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Realistic vs Iconic representation: NYC in a nutshell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    Nakakatuwa at nakakaaliw! Sinubaybayan ko ang blog ni Jason Polan noon. Nakakalungkot na maaga siyang namatay. Base sa mga nabasa ko, parang napakabait niyang tao.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diane Madlon-Kay

    2 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    Wonderful to look at the line drawings of this New Yorker. His descriptions of the people have some real humor. It is too bad that he died at the age 37 from cancer in January 2020.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marina Santos

    One of the best, most reverent books that I have ever read. Polan gave a huge gift to New York City and the world with his inimitable illustrations. My mom and I love the way that he draws movement and groups of people. Some of my favourite people that he drew were Yayoi Kusama, Patti Smith (twice!), Joan Didion, etc. EVERYBODY is in there. Also, I love so many of the NY randos he drew, like a guy in Taco Bell with a nacho on his forehead. He really captured the iconicity and eccentricity of New One of the best, most reverent books that I have ever read. Polan gave a huge gift to New York City and the world with his inimitable illustrations. My mom and I love the way that he draws movement and groups of people. Some of my favourite people that he drew were Yayoi Kusama, Patti Smith (twice!), Joan Didion, etc. EVERYBODY is in there. Also, I love so many of the NY randos he drew, like a guy in Taco Bell with a nacho on his forehead. He really captured the iconicity and eccentricity of New York, which after reading you KNOW is a city like no other (if you've visited, or only visited through the text). The world misses you, Jason. What a beautiful thing to leave behind!

  18. 5 out of 5

    An Nhien

    Full YouTube review here: https://youtu.be/4wn7_23jSAI Sometimes the best stories are not told with words. In his quixotic quest to capture every person in New York, literally, Jason Polan created a unique book that captures New York and its people like no others. A mindful read. Highly recommended. Full YouTube review here: https://youtu.be/4wn7_23jSAI Sometimes the best stories are not told with words. In his quixotic quest to capture every person in New York, literally, Jason Polan created a unique book that captures New York and its people like no others. A mindful read. Highly recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    It's hard to not appreciate someone who frequents Taco Bell and Barnes & Noble as often as I do. However, the prevalence of those spots in this book makes me wish it was a little more centric on NY originals (and thus makes me realize my own habits should be, as well). Still, Polan seems damn lucky to have nabbed a book for these doodles. (Kudos to him for thinking of it first) My favorite parts are when he includes people in-character for their Broadway shows, without necessarily citing the show It's hard to not appreciate someone who frequents Taco Bell and Barnes & Noble as often as I do. However, the prevalence of those spots in this book makes me wish it was a little more centric on NY originals (and thus makes me realize my own habits should be, as well). Still, Polan seems damn lucky to have nabbed a book for these doodles. (Kudos to him for thinking of it first) My favorite parts are when he includes people in-character for their Broadway shows, without necessarily citing the show ("Anything Goes" or "How to Succeed," for example) making for a fun theatrical time capsule. And speaking of time capsules - all the feels when it comes to people who are not longer with us, or businesses that have fallen prey to this city's vicious cycle. Even milestone moments in the city - like the installation of the first CitiBike racks. Also- this guy is clearly the bomb at spotting celebrities "in the wild," and then awkwardly approaching them for autographs.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Josefa Ruz⁷

    Bought this @ MoMA while I was in New York in September! I just thought it would be a good book to buy so that it could motivate me to draw everywhere I can. Loved all the captions or little comments as well! It was rather fun trying to develop somewhat of a story behind the drawings. Very cool and quirky book, really recommend it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thu

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pika

  23. 4 out of 5

    Farien

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Franklin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  26. 5 out of 5

    Helena

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Moore

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carly

  29. 4 out of 5

    Megnews

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lynn

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