I recently let my good friend Gio Serrano read a bit of my book. He gave me meaningful feedback about the form that it will take, which I will get to eventually, and we did the bohemian thing at Swallow Cafe all Saturday afternoon. What I immedately understood was that I needed to omit, or at least rewrite my description of New York. “Cliche,” he said, “What makes it your New York? The reader knows all about Broadway and the Statue of Liberty.”
I just read this essay about what makes New York the cultural center of the world. In part, it is its outward-lookingness. New Yorkers are constantly aware not of what is going on in the other parts of the United States -lord knows we’re the center of it all anyway – but the rest of the world. That very notion is manifest in the hundreds of enclaves of immigrants we retain. And in the same way Paris retained its status as world capital for perhaps a hundred years after the beginning of its decline, it’s apparent that New York will do the same for its ability to attract people not as a great place to live, but as a great place to do what you want.
New Yorkers live in New York because of the options, they want to be part of something bigger. And it is a big city with tons of culture, restaurants, and bars. You can have whatever you want in New York, right next door to what you would never want. In that sense, New York is the most international city in the world.
Any ideas on how to treat this notion in my book?