More New York Things

This one is actually related to reading, though. I’m done with book #49 of 2015 and it was relevant and uplifting and I enjoyed it a lot. The book was called My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City. It was a compilation of 56 stories from a variety people, recounting their first visits/moves to New York City.

This book was inspired by a magazine series in 2009 done by New York magazine, containing 30 early adventures. It received a huge reaction and a lot of new submissions, so it became a book. It was edited by David Haskell and Adam Moss.

The chapters went chronologically, based on the year said chapter-subject first arrived. I wasn’t as familiar with the earlier chapter’s celebrities, but I still loved reading their stories. I was able to gather a very distinct “old New York” vs. “new New York,” and these splits seem to happen between major (usually dangerous) events taking place there, like Son of Sam’s attacks or 9/11.

They also varied greatly in length; a baseball player named Yogi Berra told his story in only 5 words, while some of the writers were much more verbose and metaphorical.

There was a wide variety in the level of celebrity, too, which I really liked. One chapter came from Danny DeVito, an actor that most have heard of, and another shortly after that came from an escort. I loved the variety of perspectives.

The common thread between them all was their New York story. The city seems to contain some energy that everyone reacts to, but no one can really explain. A lot of the stories in this book ended with an expression of profound love for this city, but not all of them did. New York City still seems to scare people, and who knows how Yogi Berra actually felt about it, aside from noting its size.

But I guess that’s the point of the collection; the still-living authors, whether they love the city or are terrified of it, are still here. ◊

(P.S. I’m in the middle of a Zadie Smith novel right now, I just had to read this one because of it’s timeliness. So that post will hopefully be coming soon, and I’ll be halfway to 100 books!)

New York’s geography is direct and enabling; it helps people meet and get things done. It’s very hard to get lost here. And in fact, it’s very easy to find yourself.”

– Susanne Bartsch, party promoter, page 133

“Here you’re always trying to reach for something—maybe you don’t even know what, exactly.”

– Nate Silver, political analyst, page 231

One thought on “More New York Things

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