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21 Writers Who Got It Right About New York City

Before Jay Z, there was Jay D. (Joan Didion. Sorry.)

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"Each neighborhood of the city appeared to be made of a different substance, each seemed to have a different air pressure, a different psychic weight: the bright lights and shuttered shops, the housing projects and luxury hotels, the fire escapes and city parks."

-- Teju Cole, Open City

"Quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean "love" in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again."

-- Joan Didion, "Goodbye To All That"

"I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance."

-- Nora Ephron, Heartburn

"I believe in New Yorkers. Whether they've ever questioned the dream in which they live, I wouldn't know, because I won't ever dare ask that question."

-- Dylan Thomas

"You don't come to live here unless the delusion of a reality shaped around your own desires isn't a strong aspect of your personality. "A reality shaped around your own desires" — there is something sociopathic in that ambition."

-- Zadie Smith, "Find Your Beach"

"When its 100 degrees in New York, it's 72 in Los Angeles. When its 30 degrees in New York, in Los Angeles it's still 72. However, there are 6 million interesting people in New York, and only 72 in Los Angeles."

-- Neil Simon

"By comparison with other less hectic days, the city is uncomfortable and inconvenient; but New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience -- if they did they would live elsewhere."

-- E. B. White, Here Is New York

"I love New York, even though it isn't mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it."

-- Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's

"No urban night is like the night there. Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will."

-- Ezra Pound

"Cut off as I am, it is inevitable that I should sometimes feel like a shadow walking in a shadowy world. When this happens I ask to be taken to New York City. Always I return home weary but I have the comforting certainty that mankind is real flesh and I myself am not a dream."

-- Helen Keller, Midstream

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