Book Review – New York City Brick by Brick

The work of Jonathan Lopes is extraordinary. His models possess the detail of Rocco Buttliere highrises and the grandeur of Sean Kenney designs. In his first book New York City Brick by Brick Jonathan showcases his NYC buildings and bridges in stunning resolution, and includes instructions for model details.

The hardcover book is published by Abrams, and consists of 192 pages with 100 photos. Retail price is $24.99, and pre-order is available now for its May 14th, 2019 release. At the time of this writing the book is on sale for $16.50 on Amazon. An eBook is also available.

What’s inside?

Inside the book begins with an overview of Jonathan’s path to LEGO stardom and his use of LEGO elements. After the introduction the book is divided into four sections; A Historic Skyline, Neighborhoods, Firehouses, and New York City – Inspired LEGO Art. The book concludes with a glossary and acknowledgments.

Each section begins with a brief intro as well as a blurb about each of the Jonathan’s model. The blurb provides insight into the history of a model and thoughts on the LEGO design process. There are a few well known NYC landmarks, such as the Flatiron Building and Grand Central Terminal, however Jonathan likes to focus on the lesser known ‘grittier’ buildings.

Some models include instructions for small details. The diagrams, 15 in total, are exclusively in white. Expect to recreate spires, balconies, girders, and street level details.

LEGO Poster

The book also includes a large dual-sided poster, capturing Jonathan’s model of the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Terminal in high resolution.

What it’s not

The book is intended as a showcase for Jonathan’s model, not how to recreate them. While they are some diagrams for details, it is not realistic to expect a full set of instructions due to the size of the models.


If you love New York City or LEGO architecture then this is the perfect book. Jonathan’s microfig models are amazingly detailed and provide inspiration to all architecture builders. The 15 details with instructions provide a glimpse into his design methods, and are a great way to start your next model. The poster is also a cool bonus!

More about the author

Jonathan Lopes is an artist who works within the medium of LEGO bricks. He has done commissions—large and small—for private groups, nonprofit organizations, galleries, book publishers, authors, and retail shops as well as for Toys “R” Us and the LEGO Group itself.

This is my first book review, so thank you for reading!

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