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My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City (As Remembered by Actors, Artists, Athletes, Chefs, Comedians, Filmmakers, Mayors, Models, Moguls, Porn Stars, Rockers, Writers, and Others Hardcover – March 23, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As noted by E. B. White in his 1948 essay “Here Is New York,” there are roughly three New Yorks: that of the commuters, who “give the city its tidal restlessness”; that of the natives, who “give it solidity and continuity”; and, finally, the New York of the settlers, who, born elsewhere, “came to New York in search of something,” and they give the city its passion. In this breezy celebration of the city, expanded from a recent feature in New York magazine, 50 famous residents describe their first days in the city—days variously exhilarating, overwhelming, terrifying, or inspiring, but invariably unforgettable. It’s a diverse cast of characters, including Dan Rather, Chuck Close, Judy Collins, Keith Hernandez, Lauren Hutton, Ira Glass, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and many notable others. Some arrived as early as the 1930s, others just last year, but certain recurrent themes emerge: adventures in taxis or on the subway, less-than-ideal apartments, movable feasts of culture, overshooting the Manhattan exits off the George Washington Bridge, feelings of endless possibility. Yogi Berra needed only five words: “New York? It was big.” --Brendan Driscoll

Review

“These small, glittering essays make a reader feel that the sheer force of all these dreams, this persistence, might in fact rub off on you.” (Los Angeles Times)

“No matter how rich and famous they become, newcomers generally suffer through the most absurd living conditions as a rite of passage to becoming New Yorkers. It’s proven by the boldfaced contributors to My First New York.” (New York Post)

“A breezy celebration of the city. . . . 50 famous residents describe their first days in the city—days variously exhilarating, overwhelming, terrifying, or inspiring, but invariably unforgettable.” (Booklist)

“As wacky and wonderful as NYC itself.” (Modern Tonic)

“At time hilarious and heartbreaking, all these stories are inspiring—just like life in NYC.” (Star)

“Celebrate[s] all the quirkiness, beauty, creativity, eccentricity, and artistry that is New York City.” (Pop Matters)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1 edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061963933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061963933
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My First New York is a lot like the city itself, dirty, glamorous, lonely, bizarre and full of wonder. Together these stories really paint a picture of a bunch of different facets of New York City. If you've never been you'll want to go and if you have, you'll recognize something from your own memory of the city.

There is something so uplifting reading about people's first experiences in the city instead of say a random memory, people go there with so much hope and promise and to see if the city fulfills that promise, that's all part of the fun. You never know what will happen until you go there.

The essays vary in length and tone but they all contribute something, some of my favorites include essays by James Rosenquist, Liza Minnelli, Parker Posey, Mike Myers, and Jenny Joslin. At times some of the essays came off as people bragging about people they knew and how they were there when this and this happened but I think it comes with the territory, these people were there making history.

This book IS New York City and I'd highly suggest it to New Yorkers and those that wish they were New Yorkers. I feel like I can open it anytime and get a taste of the city.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Do you remember the very first time you set foot in New York City? It's the experience you'll never forget.

In this book over 50 New Yorkers tell their stories of early days in Big Apple. The stories are all different, some funny, some sad, all of them exciting and memorable. They tell the story of one of the greatest cities in the world.

If you love New York, and most of us do, this book is for you. And here's a perfect quote to sum up the book: what makes one a real New Yorker is the conscious decision to become one.

ENJOY!
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone who lives, has lived or dreams about living in New York City, these vivid, truthful, mostly joyful memory-stories will be a home run of reading. I could quibble with the relatively narrow range of writers/celebrities featured here to speak to the Big Apple experience, but the fact remains that nine out of ten of the stories published resonate in a way no other book published on NYC life does in quite the same way.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am madly in love with the city of New York. There is something so fascinating about the city’s energy that makes insiders stay and lures outsiders in. Like many outsiders, I dream of someday living in New York City. I have read N.Y.C. travel guides, watched all episodes of Gossip Girl, and even attempted (but failed) to make the perfect New York pizza. And every time I visit the city, the vibrant atmosphere always makes me want to stay.

In 2010, New York magazine published a feature story in which thirty prominent New Yorkers shared their first New York experience. My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City is an extended version of that magazine feature. The book is a collection of short stories from various people--from actors, artists, authors, politicians, and even porn stars. In the book, they recollect their “first times,” some happier than others, but all are representations of the city from an individual’s perspective in a specific time in history.

The book is chronologically arranged featuring N.Y.C. newcomers who arrived in 1933 to 2009. The book starts with David Dinkins who was the city’s former mayor, ends with actress Jenny Joslin, and includes stories from James Franco, Nora Ephron, Danny DeVito, Naomi Campbell, Amy Sedaris, and Maggie Gyllenhaal among others.

I like how the various authors’ stories represent the diversity of the city and the assortment of personalities who call it home. The stories vary from funny to inspiring to sad. Some of the authors had an easy time settling in while others, not so much.

Lorne Michaels had a job waiting for him in New York City when he moved from California while Jenny Joslin spent half her time auditioning for acting jobs and the other half applying for server positions.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great look at New York and New Yorkers through the memories of some of it's more interesting residents. The stories are laid out chronologically, which created a flow in the story telling. I liked too the varied perspectives - you don't get just one type of impression, or one aspect of the city as a consequence. One nitpick - many of the stories are of the "as told to" variety. That's fine, but those seemed to end quite abruptly - like a phone call cut off before you've had a chance to say goodbye. Even just one or two more sentences, to create a coda as it were, would have been appreciated. I realize the editors wanted to maintain the first person quality, but part of editing is smoothing out the rough edges.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My expectations have failed: I thought it would be huge, filled with various long stories on New York. But it is quite a small pocket book. In spite of it, I like the idea of content - it starts from early 30-th of 20-th century and goes till the end of century. It's fun to read it, some narrator really surprised me (like Denny Devito). The main idea for me was to feel, to smell the spirit, the odor of New York, how the city had been changing throughout the years. This book can make it, really, at times.
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My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City (As Remembered by Actors, Artists, Athletes, Chefs, Comedians, Filmmakers, Mayors, Models, Moguls, Porn Stars, Rockers, Writers, and Others
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