You’ve likely seen my raving recommendation of Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry – one of the greatest books I’ve ever read – about the longest professional baseball game in history.
Of course, being seduced by his clever writing style – attention to detail, a tip of the hat to subtle pathos, crisp dialogue – I couldn’t resist buying City Lights, a collection of his newspaper articles about life in the Big Apple.
I’ve only been to New York once and still have dreams of returning one day to be swept up by its enormity and fast-paced life. But as it’s not yet time for another visit, Barry’s book places me right in the center of Times Square, and sitting in my Kentucky home, I can hear the hustle and bustle of cab cars whooshing past, and the street vendors calling out for you to buy their merchandise.
The collection is broken up into six parts about varying aspects of New York: New York, Starring New York; Vanishing New York; Seizing the New York Day; Leaving New York; New York, After; and Congress of Curious New York People.
The section about the aftermath of 9/11 was my favorite (New York, After), where readers were invited to the homes of victims’ parents years later and we catch a glimpse of redemption through the aftermath of that fateful day.
You’ll learn about businessmen that thrived once upon a time, but were forced to close down shop due to population growth, you’ll read first-hand accounts of immigrants vying for the American dream on crowded sidewalks, and you’ll be introduced to conmen who could talk you into handing over your wallet with just a few elegant words.
Meant to be read one article at a time, at times, I couldn’t put it down for pages on end. Dan Barry does his city – and country – a service with his articles, and gives us all the key to the greatest city on earth.