I like New York in June .... how about you?
Seriously though, I like New York any time of year. Don't get me wrong. I would never give up the Windy City for the Big Apple. I can say, with honesty and affection, that NYC is a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.
Today's book came off the shelf because NY is still on my mind since I recently returned from one of my annual jaunts there. The World in a City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of the New New York (Ballantine, 267 pages, $25.95) is thoughtfully written by New York Times columnist Joseph Berger, who's been hanging around the city a long time — ever since he immigrated at age 5 ...
"I can do interviews in such exotic places as Ecuador and Uzbekistan and Bangladesh simply by getting on the subway for the cost of a MetroCard," Berger writes in the book's preface. "Sixty percent of the city's residents are either immigrants or children of immigrants. There are now at least twenty-five new nationalities with significant representations."
Berger goes on to list all the nationalities and in the ensuing chapters visits many of the city's villages, such as East Harlem and Chinatown in Manhattan, Bedford Park and Norwood in the Bronx, Little Neck and Rego Park in Queens, and Midwood and Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn. He visits with the inhabitants of each neighborhood and points out the differences between his 1950s memories and the city's modern landscape.
After each chapter, Berger lists "Where to Go" and Where to Eat" in each neighborhood he visits. So, if you find yourself in Richmond Hill in Queens, go to LIberty Avenue to shop for jewelry and clothes and eat at Richie's Roti Shop or St. John Restaurant. Or if you find yourself in Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, check out SAS Italian Records for Italian music or a coffeemaker, and eat at Il Colossco for "homespun Italian" cooking.
I sometimes forget that there's a New York world beyond the Upper West Side, Central Park, Midtown and Greenwich Village. This book is an excellent reminder and provides an incentive to explore a little more.