The 1960s NYC Guidebook That the Czech Secret Police Almost Destroyed

Back in 1963, two Czech travelers drew an incredible illustrated guidebook based on their first trip to Mad Men-era New York City. Soon after, the Czech police destroyed every last copy, and the book was lost forever. Or so they thought.

The Guggenheim, Times Square, Eero Saarinen's WTA terminal: Zdenek Mahler and Vladimir Fuka drew all that and more on their visit to NYC. But according to The Daily Beast, Fuka decided to illegally stay in America—and the Czech secret police destroyed all evidence of his book in response. It seemed lost to the sands of time, until Mahler mentioned the book to his grandson—who lives in NYC—in 2008.

The 1960s NYC Guidebook That the Czech Secret Police Almost Destroyed

Together, the pair dug through the older Mahler's papers, hoping to find the proofs that he had saved from the police. The younger Mahler suggested that his grandfather republish the guide—and yesterday, the American version of the book finally hit Amazon.

The 1960s NYC Guidebook That the Czech Secret Police Almost Destroyed

New York: A Mod Portrait of the City was drawn a half a century ago, but it reads as incredibly modern—perhaps because so much of our current cultural landscape is borrowed from the 1960s. There's Le Corbusier's regal UN. A kaleidoscopic Times Square. Eero Saarinen's JFK Terminal, then only two years old—all drawn in a low-slung freehand style, peppered with color and texture. It would feel like a time capsule, if it weren't so prescient. Pick it up for $19 on Amazon. [The Daily Beast; Gothamist]

The 1960s NYC Guidebook That the Czech Secret Police Almost Destroyed