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It’s the last day of the month, and you’re king (or queen) of the world! You can do anything, buy anything! Then it’s the first, and your bank account is down to $28.93, because you live in New York and you just paid the rent. Don’t despair: You have just enough dough for a copy of the American Institute of Architects’ AIA Guide to New York City. Written by Norval White, Elliot Willensky, and Fran Leadon and most recently updated in 2010, this fat little tome divides the city and its boroughs into walkable chunks, offering thumbnail observations about our most significant buildings — not just acknowledged treasures like William Van Alen’s Chrysler Building, but also small, quirky gems like the adorable Italian Renaissance firehouse at 14 East 18th Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Even if you don’t know a cornice from a balconet, the AIA Guide will get you up to speed in no time. Your best revenge against the high cost of New York City living is to enjoy the metropolis in all its architectural glory. If you factor all that beauty in to the price of your rent, you’re getting a bargain!

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