Manhattan, photos by J. C. Suares, text by Chris Casson Madden. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 256 pp. $45.

Anyone who has walked down Madison Avenue at noon knows New York's size is a living social force. As social philosopher Richard Sennett points out in his aptly named ''The Uses of Disorder,'' the constant adventure of metropolitan life - its pleasures and frustrations - forces us to mature, to face experiences we might otherwise shrink from.

This book of photographs, edited by the former art director for New York magazine, J. C. Suares, attempts to capture this essence of Manhattan: its constant surprises, its ''tranquility and turmoil.'' A man breathing fire hangs from the World Trade Center. A monk meditates on Riverside Drive, while the Tall Ships float beneath him. The morning sun glows on Schermerhorn Row, a last remnant of colonial New York.

It is a gorgeous volume, full of surprises. A fine present for the urban sophisticate, real or pseudo, on your gift list.

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