DESTINATON: New York City — NYC — New York, New York –Manhattan — Brooklyn – Central Park
After recently reviewing a mystery novel about a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn and another about the area around Grand Central Terminal, I got curious about how many books about New York City I (or guests) have reviewed in the past five and half year. Answer: A Lot. Here are links to the reviews, and a tiny bit of what we had to say about each.
A Journey into Dorothy Parker’s New York by Keven C. Kirkpatrick. “Skeptical, witty, cynical, smart, fashion conscious and status obssessed–it is hard to know whether Dorothy Parker accurately reflected New York City, or created our image of New York City.”
The Warwick Hotel. This is not a book review, but a travel experience about a hotel I loved in Manhattan. One of my all time favorite articles. “Over 78 years the Warwick Hotel has seen plenty of brash newcomers come along, blocking its views and dwarfing its 36 stories. But the location still can’t be beat.”
Charming Billy by Alice McDermott. An Irish-American family in NYC. “McDermott has written a small miracle of a book.”
Blood Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. In this guest review by food writer Casey Barber, we are introduced to a memoir of the creator of the NYC restaurant PRUNE. Casey says, “With each successive trip to visit her Italian in-laws, Hamilton’s desire to become familial and to please the clan with perfect dinner party, recapturing the expansive, welcoming lamb feasts of her youth and the ‘salty, sweet, starchy, brothy, crispy’ simplicity of meals at Prune, becomes all-encompassing.”
Not for Parents: New York City, A Lonely Planet series. This guest review by Jennifer Close shows how the guidebook for kids appeals to the younger set. “This isn’t your typical guidebook. It doesn’t list locations, cost or hours of operation but that is okay because it is meant for children and your children will be with you on the trip, right?”
Buddhaland Brooklyn by Richard C. Morais. “This new novel, like meditation, encourages calm thoughts and some new insights into oneself and one’s culture. But it brings some laughs, too.”
All Those Things We Never Said by Marc Levy. Maybe you’ll like this father-daughter, semi-fantasy more than I did. Or just see the movie Just LIke Heaven with Reece Witherspoon. About the book, I said, “Instead of thought-provoking moments, we get a collection of fortune cookies from her father.”
Mumbai New York Scranton by Tamara Shopsin. The author, a graphic artist, is part of the family that has a venerable restaurant in NYC, Shopsin’s , on the lower East side. “Mumbai New York Scranton is like a painting by Juan Gris–the artist combines simple objects and each viewer recreates meaning as they view it. So this memoir of a year in the life of a native New York artist leaves plenty of room for the reader’s own thoughts.”
42, movie about the life of Jackie Robinson, guest review by Jane Boursaw, gives a historic view of Brooklyn. Although Ebbetts field no longer exists, you can still visit Brooklyn. Jane says, “Even if you’re not a sports-movie nut, “42″ is an amazing, inspiring film and also a great history lesson.”
Another section of The Mall at Central Park.
Central Park, edited by Andrew Blauner, is a collection of literary works set in Central Park. This photo post features my own images of Central Park approached as a literary journey.
I Never Knew That About New York by Christopher Winn. A guidebook with a difference. “Now the British know-it-all has invaded New York City. Does he know things about New York that even dedicated New Yawkers haven’t discovered? We’ll wager he does.”
Terminal City by Linda Fairstein. A crime novel set in Manhattan. “Fairstein has done enough research to fill a separate book about the history, the dimensions of the building , the tunnels, the hidden spaces, the art work, the homeless who live underground, the pattern of transportation in and out–moving people on foot and by rail.”
Invisible City by Julia Dahl. A crime novel with a murder in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn and the inner workings of a New York City tabloid. “Rebekah picks her way through a minefield of people (newspaper editors, cops, Hasidic Jews) who never seem to be telling the whole truth.”
What Changes Everything by Masha Hamilton. Although her 31 Hours, which I have not reviewed here, is set entirely and chillingly in New York City, What Changes Everything is mostly about Afghanistan with key portions in Brooklyn. I recommend both. Here’s what I said about What Changes Everything, “The culture of Afghanistan and the culture of a tagger in Brooklyn are portrayed with loads of detail because Masha Hamilton knows them both.”