New York Stories

The Best of the City Section of the New York Times

303 pages

40 illustrations

May, 2005

ISBN: 9780814775721



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Constance Rosenblum, most recently the author of the Habitats column published in the Real Estate section of The New York Times, was a longtime editor of the paper’s City section and a former editor of the Times’s Arts and Leisure section. She is the author of Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope Along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.


All books by Constance Rosenblum

“There are eight million stories in the Naked City.” This famous line from the 1948 film The Naked City has become an emblem of New York City itself. One publication cultivating many of New York City's greatest stories is the City section in The New York Times. Each Sunday, this section of The New York Times, distributed only in papers in the five boroughs, captivates readers with tales of people and places that make the city unique.

Featuring a cast of stellar writers—Phillip Lopate, Vivian Gornick, Thomas Beller and Laura Shaine Cunningham, among others—New York Stories brings some of the best essays from the City section to readers around the country. New Yorkers can learn something new about their city, while other readers will enjoy the flavor of the Big Apple. New York Stories profiles people like sixteen-year-old Barbara Ott, who surfs the waters off Rockaway in Queens, and Sonny Payne, the beloved panhandler of the F train. Other essays explore memorable places in the city, from the Greenwich Village townhouse blown up by radical activists in the 1970s to a basketball court that serves as the heart of its Downtown neighborhood.

The forty essays collected in New York Stories reflect an intimate understanding of the city, one that goes beyond the headlines. The result is a passionate, well-written portrait of a legendary and ever-evolving place.


  • “A reminder that there are stories still untold in New York, and writers hard at work to find them for us.”

    The New York Times Book Review

  • “You don't have to have a particular interest in the Big Apple to pick up this book. These are stories of human life in all its quirky richness. . . . New York Stories is a series of love letters to a city that, for all its problems and peculiarities, beckons people from all over the world.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Rosenblum, who edits the City section, has collected 40 representative pieces that showcase the ups and downs of life in a metropolis that still exerts a gravitational pull on those seeking their fortune. Many of the essays are by well-known authors, such as Jan Morris, Phillip Lopate and Vivian Gornick, but others, equally winning, are by emerging writers. All of the pieces are engrossing and share a painstaking attention to craft. … This is both an excellent addition to New York history and a pleasure for casual browsing.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This collection of engaging stories will appeal to a broad range of adult readers interested in pushing back the concealing vapors of legend to discover the otherwise hidden gears and cogs that keep the enchanted ideal of New York City humming smoothly along.”


  • “Given the subject matter, it should come as no surprise that the pieces evoke a powerful sense of place. Coming as this does from the pages of the New York Times, it is also no surprise that the material is of high literary caliber.”

    Library Journal