Books Can Take You Places: New York City

Already this year, we’ve taken trips to 13 different cities and our journey around the world is slowly coming to an end.  This month let’s explore all that New York City has to offer.

The author Tom Wolfe said of New York City, “Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather.” Indeed, the list of literary and artistic movements newyorkcitythat were born here is longer than the Empire State Building is tall—the Harlem Renaissance, comic books, modern dance, bebop, abstract expressionism, hip hop, disco, Tin Pan Alley and punk, just to name a few.

It’s only right that this cultural melting pot would be the inspiration for so many books, movies, TV shows and songs. After moving from small town Texas to the Big Apple after graduating from college, I truly got to experience everything the city had to offer for a poor post-college adult.

Living there you can see how inspiration can be found around every corner —  not to mention how easy it is to run into famous entertainment landmarks. From Carrie’s brownstone, the Friends apartment, Central Park Carousel and of course the iconic jewelry store Tiffany’s, it’s difficult to walk a block without seeing something that was featured in a book or on film. I personally tried to soak in all of the (free) landmarks that I could while I lived there, and learned quite a bit about the unique city. For instance, Washington Square Park is built on top of a burial vault, the skinniest house at 75.5 Bedford Street is only 8’4” at its widest (home of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Mead, Cary Grant and John Barrymore) and the iconic Empire State Building has its own zip code. I highly recommend the book Inside the Apple by Michelle and James Nevius; it became one of my favorite city companions while I lived there. It contains tons of information about the city, as well as self-guided walking tours.


As the wise Amy Poehler once said, “There’s something so romantic about being broke in New York. You gotta do it. You have to live there once without any money, and then you have to live there when you have money. Let me tell you, of the two, the latter is far better.” After living in NYC for two years I decided it was time to go be poor in a cheaper city, and I’ve been in Dallas ever since. I haven’t tried living in New York with money, but maybe someday I will…


book Another Country, James Baldwin • music-note-21 Bookends, Simon & Garfunkel • music-note-21 The Bridge, Sonny Rollins • book The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger • slate_film-512 Do the Right Thing music-note-21 The Freewheelin’, Bob Dylan book Here is New York, E.B. White • slate_film-512 Manhattan book Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem • slate_film-512 The Muppets Take Manhattan music-note-21 Paul’s Boutique, Beastie Boys • book The Power Broker, Robert Caro • music-note-21 Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. • slate_film-512 Sweet Smell of Successslate_film-512 Taxi Driver music-note-21 West Side Story, Original Broadway Cast


  • The gated tree-lined lane known as Patchin Place has been home to famous writers like E.E. Cummings, Ezra Pound and O. Henry.
  • Fans of The Catcher in the Rye can follow in Holden Caulfield’s footsteps at locations like the Museum of Natural History, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Radio City Music Hall and the Central Park Zoo Carousel.
  • Hip hop traces its roots to 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, where the innovative Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc spun records for parties in the early 1970s.
  • The Algonquin Hotel’s Round Table Room was the famed gathering spot of Dorothy Parker and other literary wits, who met almost daily there for the better part of ten years.

Zane is an email designer at HPB Corporate in Dallas TX.


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