“New York had all the iridescence of the beginning of the world.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’m not quite a “world traveler,” but I’ve been around: Paris, the Andes…Tel Aviv, Chicago, even Tijuana. I say “yes” to just about any invitation to pack a carry-on and hop on a jet. I’ve also been lucky enough in the past to have a job that sent me all over the country (not that I always appreciate these extra-office assignments). But until recently, that great city on the Hudson had eluded my grasp.
New York City, here I come!
It’s amazing how much the idea of New York is embedded in our subconscious. From a young age, we watch movies, read books and follow television shows set in and around this fruit-moniker’d metropolis. I’m sure most of us could identify a list of familiar haunts – fictional and literary – as readily identifiable as our very own main street. There’s Monk’s (Seinfeld) and Central Perk (Friends) and Maclaren’s Pub (How I Met Your Mother), for starters, but the list probably numbers in the high hundreds. We all know where our favorite characters grab a bite, sip an espresso or throw back an icy cold pint. Speaking with some New York savvy friends recently, I was assured that one walk along the Upper West Side in Manhattan would invoke all my favorite films: Breakfast At Tiffany’s, When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall.
But what about book and authors and famous writerly haunts?
That’s what I’ll be on the lookout as I spend this Memorial Day weekend on the mother of all Artist Dates (though I’ll be cheating a little since I’ll have a delightful sidekick showing me the scenes and sights). I may try for a photo op at the Hotel Chelsea ( a favorite of Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, William S. Burroughs, and Arthur Miller). And of course, I must cruise by the Plaza, where Truman Capote held his famous extravaganzas. From there I’ll wander along Central Park’s “literary walk” and craft a silent little prayer to my own set of deities, Shakespeare, Robert Burns, and all the rest.
I will definitely try to drag my friend over to the Strand Book Store in Manhattan, which promises to be as “big and unruly and chaotic” as the city itself. And I will most definitely see about getting a drink at the White Horse Tavern in honor of Hunter S. Thompson and Dylan Thomas (I will try very hard not to whisper, “So cross her hand with their grave gypsy eyes,” over my drink). And if I decide to venture beyond Manhattan, I’ll be sure to check out the Brooklyn Literary Walking Tour, that promises to regale me with “legends of the luminaries of the neighborhood.”
I’m sure I’ll be filling up my Instagram with filtered and framed snapshots during my adventure, and no doubt my friends and family will find their Facebook newsfeed filled with Daily Creative Writer updates and check-ins. I’ll try to write a little bit while I’m there (and maybe I’ll post one or two blog entries).
But mostly I’m just going to try and soak it all in, because as EB White explained, “The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.”
Thanks so very much to that Gray Lady and her New York tips.
The Telegraph UK also had some great suggestions.
Cover Photo by PROThomas Hawk via Flickr
- 50 Quotes From Breakfast At Tiffany’s, In Order Of Awesomeness (thoughtcatalog.com)
- Manhattan, When I was Young (easilycrestfallen.wordpress.com)
- #newyorkers (sasstag.com)