NEW YORK — The Rolling Stones, colorful as peacocks with cigarettes in hand, walk through gray, hazy St. James Park.
A fresh-faced Marianne Faithfull wearing a tiny miniskirt and knee socks, leans against a tufted banquette in the high-Victorian Salisbury Arms pub.
You’ll find evocative images like these throughout “London: Portrait of a City” by Reuel Golden (Taschen, $69.99), a massive visual love letter to the British capital.
We see Tower Bridge under construction in 1893, a traffic jam as horse-drawn carts and trucks bring produce to Covent Garden in 1930 and a bus stuck in a crater created by the bombing of the Balham tube station during the Blitz.
The Beatles are here, and Salman Rushdie, and a bunch of hacks in the News of the World office in the 1980s. You can trace the evolution of police officers’ tall hats, Piccadilly Circus ads and those beloved double-decker buses.
“New York Nights” by James T. and Karla L. Murray (Gingko Press, $65) is a focused look at New York storefronts emblazoned with neon. The color photos are large and beautifully printed; You’ll feel as though you could walk into Papaya King for a hot dog or pick up some appetizers at Russ & Daughters.
Some of the pictures are accompanied by interviews with the shops’ owners. Junior’s in Brooklyn started to serve its famous cheesecake because the founder was looking for something people didn’t like to make at home. The Clover Delicatessen stays closed on Sundays, explains the owner, “because that’s what my grandfather always did and he wanted us to do the same.”
“My Ideal Bookshelf” by Jane Mount and Thessaly La Force (Little, Brown, $24.99) is for people drawn to perusing their friends’ libraries.
More than 100 cultural figures were asked to choose a group of books that have meant the most to them. Mount painted charming pictures of the selections, spines out on the shelf, while La Force wrote essays based on interviews with the participants.
Writer Junot Diaz has all three volumes of “The Lord of the Rings” as well as “Watership Down.” Barneys New York creative ambassador Simon Doonan loves that great sex-and- shopping novel “Scruples” by Judith Krantz. Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust reads Faulkner and Emily Dickinson. Actor James Franco’s shelf is so full there are volumes piled on top, everything from Proust to Hemingway to Raymond Carver.
“101 Essential Rock Records” by Jeff Gold (Gingko Press/Kill Your Idols, $39.95) has the best in vinyl.
Gold is a collector, and his book includes big photos of the front and back covers of albums ranging from the Beatles’s “Please Please Me” to “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.” A concise write-up accompanies shots of the black discs themselves.
It may be a sacrilege, but the book will have fans running to a computer to download gaps in their collection.
“Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History” (Voyageur, $40) is more about the phenomenon than the actual franchise.
See Yoko Ono waiting to get beamed up at a convention in 2002, as well as all the trading cards and fanzines. Have a debate about which captain was the most stalwart.
With all five TV series now streaming on Netflix and the latest movie due in May, this is the perfect gift for the indomitable Trekker - and the more casual fan.