A book as effervescent and alive as the city itself.
My First New York features candid accounts of coming to New York by more than fifty of the most remarkable people who have called the city home. Here are true stories of long nights out and wild nights in, of first dates and lost loves, of memorable meals and miserable jobs, of slow walks up Broadway and fast subway rides downtown.
The contributors—a mix of actors, artists, comedians, entrepreneurs, musicians, politicians, sports stars, writers, and others—reflect an enormous variety of experiences: few have arrived with less than filmmaker Jonas Mekas, a concentration-camp survivor on a UN refugee ship; few have swanned in with more than designer Diane von Furstenberg, a princess. And an extraordinary number managed to land in New York just as something historic was happening—the artist Cindy Sherman arrived in the middle of the Summer of Sam; restaurateur Danny Meyer came on the day John Lennon was shot.
Arranged chronologically, these moving and memorable stories combine to form an impressionistic history of New York since the Great Depression. They also provide an accidental encyclopedia of New York hotspots through the ages: from the Cedar Tavern and the Gaslight to LutÈce and Elaine's, from Max's Kansas City and the Mudd Club to the Odeon and Bungalow 8, they're all here, dots on the unbroken line of the Next Next things.
Taken together, My First New York is a collection of fifty-six testaments to a larger revelation, one that new arrivals of all stripes and all eras have experienced again and again in New York, regardless of how the city proceeds to treat them: what the songwriter Rufus Wain-wright calls "having cracked the code of living life to the fullest."
My First New York is a lot like the city itself, dirty, glamorous, lonely, bizarre and full of wonder. Together these stories really paint a picture of a bunch of different facets of New York City. If you've never been you'll want to go and if you have, you'll recognize something from your own memory of the city.
There is something so uplifting reading about people's first experiences in the city instead of say a random memory, people go there with so much hope and promise and to see if the city fulfills that promise, that's all part of the fun. You never know what will happen until you go there.
The essays vary in length and tone but they all contribute something, some of my favorites include essays by James Rosenquist, Liza Minnelli, Parker Posey, Mike Myers, and Jenny Joslin. At times some of the essays came off as people bragging about people they knew and how they were there when this and this happened but I think it comes with the territory, these people were there making history.
This book IS New York City and I'd highly suggest it to New Yorkers and those that wish they were New Yorkers. I feel like I can open it anytime and get a taste of the city.
My First New York will be released on March 23rd
ARC provided by publisher