New York City is the endlessly romantic backdrop for more literary love stories than we could possibly count. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the NYPL asked their book experts for their favorite tales of love and the city; then they put them on a map for our exploration–and reading–pleasure.
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The New York Public Library has announced its annual top checkouts list for the year; The most sought-after title in the three public library systems–including books and e-books from the New York Public Library (covering the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island), Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library–was Jennifer Egan’s “Manhattan Beach.” Egan won a Pulitzer Prize for “A Visit From the Goon Squad” in 2011; her newest novel is, as the New York Times puts it in a review, “principally a novel of New York” that “pays tribute to the city’s iconography.”
When writers and artists–particularly ones who have a keen understanding of cities–venture into the world of maps, you can bet the results will be fascinating and illuminating. “Nonstop Metropolis,” a new atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro (6sqft recently discovered the “City of Women” subway map from the book) offers 26 New York City maps that “cue us into understanding who is here” according to Solnit. As Wired puts it in their review, the result is “a diverse array of deeply particular maps” that combine imaginative and fanciful imagery with the colorful cultural history beneath the city’s diverse neighborhoods and landmarks and the people who live among them.
The New York Public Library is currently putting together a map of New York City neighborhoods represented in the pages of our favorite books. Novels set in the five boroughs are added to the map as readers suggest them, along with nearby landmarks and attractions so you can get your literary bearings. Currently most of the listed titles in are in Manhattan (“American Psycho” in the Financial District, “Catcher in the Rye” in Central Park, to name just a few); Team Brooklyn is looking sparse (Hello? Paul Auster?), and The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island need you!
As a Brooklynite surrounded by progressives, I’m well aware of the need to “think globally and act locally” on a whole lot of matters. This persistent mantra seems particularly true when it comes to commerce, prompting those of us who heed such calls to shop (and generally pay more) at farmer’s markets and mom & pop retailers, especially those in our very own neighborhood. This is how vital local businesses can be sustained in an environment rife with soulless, big chain predators. OK. Fine. So I do my part by forking over ten bucks to a farmer for a bunch of kale and a handful of carrots, though I can’t understand why it costs more to buy the stuff direct from the guy who grew it himself. And then there was the time a Hudson Valley hipster tried to sell me a three pound chicken for $27.