"The only thing New Yorkers ignore more than nature is history." From Mark Kurlansky's preface to The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell.
Addendum: I'm not quite as enthusiastic about this book as I am about Kurlansky's other food books, Salt and Cod. Trying to cover the history of New York from the point of view of oysters is a real stretch, and in the end, he has to swivel back and forth between the two topics. I prefer the pure oyster book called The Oysters of Locmariaquer by Eleanor Clark.