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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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From the staff of New York Magazine comes the perfect gift for the Manhattanite in all of us. My First New York is a glorious collection of recollections and reminiscences as fifty of the city’s most famous residents recapture the kicks and thrills of first arriving in the Big Apple. Actors and athletes, rock stars and porn stars, writers, artists, and politicos—from Yogi From the staff of New York Magazine comes the perfect gift for the Manhattanite in all of us. My First New York is a glorious collection of recollections and reminiscences as fifty of the city’s most famous residents recapture the kicks and thrills of first arriving in the Big Apple. Actors and athletes, rock stars and porn stars, writers, artists, and politicos—from Yogi Berra to Liza Minnelli, from Chloe Sevigny to Andy Samberg to Diane Von Furstenberg—they all share their hilarious, touching, frightening, amazing early big city adventures in My First New York.


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From the staff of New York Magazine comes the perfect gift for the Manhattanite in all of us. My First New York is a glorious collection of recollections and reminiscences as fifty of the city’s most famous residents recapture the kicks and thrills of first arriving in the Big Apple. Actors and athletes, rock stars and porn stars, writers, artists, and politicos—from Yogi From the staff of New York Magazine comes the perfect gift for the Manhattanite in all of us. My First New York is a glorious collection of recollections and reminiscences as fifty of the city’s most famous residents recapture the kicks and thrills of first arriving in the Big Apple. Actors and athletes, rock stars and porn stars, writers, artists, and politicos—from Yogi Berra to Liza Minnelli, from Chloe Sevigny to Andy Samberg to Diane Von Furstenberg—they all share their hilarious, touching, frightening, amazing early big city adventures in My First New York.

30 review for 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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Wow. This book is TERRIBLE. Annoying, boring, trite, poorly written 'tales' of first encounters with the city. Even celebrities and writers I admire have shameful contributions of mere crap in this book. I feel the fault must be in the editors and/or how they approached the contributors on how to write their pieces. I am a huge fan of about-new-york literature and memoir, and thought this could be a great gift for people new to the city. It is, however, junk, and no one should ever buy it. {Alth Wow. This book is TERRIBLE. Annoying, boring, trite, poorly written 'tales' of first encounters with the city. Even celebrities and writers I admire have shameful contributions of mere crap in this book. I feel the fault must be in the editors and/or how they approached the contributors on how to write their pieces. I am a huge fan of about-new-york literature and memoir, and thought this could be a great gift for people new to the city. It is, however, junk, and no one should ever buy it. {Although it did cement my disdain for Chloe Sevigny when she bragged about how all the gay boys were jealous of her because the boys they liked all had crushes on her. I used to feel I unfairly loathed her, now I feel justification.}

  2. 5 out of 5

    Satia

    My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City from the editors of New York Magazine is a collection of short recollections from a variety of people about their coming to New York for the first time. However, for those not familiar with New York ideology it should be clarified that the memories are focused solely on Manhattan. Anyone who comes from the tri-state area knows that when you say New York City you mean Manhattan but others may not get it. In some ways, these stories all read like My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City from the editors of New York Magazine is a collection of short recollections from a variety of people about their coming to New York for the first time. However, for those not familiar with New York ideology it should be clarified that the memories are focused solely on Manhattan. Anyone who comes from the tri-state area knows that when you say New York City you mean Manhattan but others may not get it. In some ways, these stories all read like an inside joke and there are throw away observations that New Yorkers will get like when Andy Samberg compares California nature with New York nature and declares the latter “disgusting” or when Zoe Kazan says New York is like being in a good relationship, where you remember the first days—but it can also feel sometimes like the first days again.” The people included run the gamut from the famous to the obscure, from the admirable to the questionable and explore experiences that move from the Great Depression into the present. Some of the writing is eloquent and potentially evocative but there is a sense of urgency in how short these pieces all are. (Does Yogi Bera’s six word two sentence comment really deserve a chapter all its own?) These “essays” read more like essay-las (playing off novel/novella) where everything is told, ironically enough, in a New York minute. For someone who has never fully tasted the city, it may suffice. For someone who is feeling homesick, reading this book will be about as satisfying as walking past a bakery and not even getting a sample taste of what’s being offered. A few longer pieces with emotional depth, sensorial explorations, and genuine insight into the culture shock and adaptation one would experience would have served the city and the reader better. After all, the New York in which I grew up deserves at least that much insight and honesty and I had hoped this book would make me ache with homesickness. I also dreaded the possibility. I guess I’m lucky, albeit disappointed, that I experienced nothing of the kind.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mandie

    I have a mad crush on the city of New York. The entire city. Of all of the places in the world that I would love to visit, New York City is always at the top of my list. I constantly read books, and watch movies and TV shows that are set in the city, imagining what it would be like to be me, only living there. Alas, it is an unrequited crush, New York has no idea that I even exist. "My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City (As Remembered by Actors, Artists, Athletes, Chefs, Comedians, I have a mad crush on the city of New York. The entire city. Of all of the places in the world that I would love to visit, New York City is always at the top of my list. I constantly read books, and watch movies and TV shows that are set in the city, imagining what it would be like to be me, only living there. Alas, it is an unrequited crush, New York has no idea that I even exist. "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)" is a collection of "first time" stories about coming to the Big Apple as told or written by an amazing group of people, originally put together for a magazine feature story. The stories are as different as the people who tell them. Starting with former NYC mayor David Dinkins, who first arrived in 1933, and ending with aspiring actress Jenny Joslin who arrived in 2009, "My First New York" is a record of the city as seen through the eyes of newcomers who came from all over the world, some with little more than the clothes on their backs and their dreams of conquering the city that never sleeps. For the record, I am pretty sure that my first New York will somehow involve me falling into an open man hole as I stare up at the sites of the city, mouth all agape.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    Purchased at The Strand and started in NYC. 56 short chapters spanning 1933 to 2009. All were good. Some of my favorites were Amy Sedaris, who used to throw used tea bags into her spare bedroom and watch them freeze. David Rakoff, whose goal was to resemble one of the many characters in MANHATTAN...in other words, be a New Yorker! Gary Shteyngart's story was wonderful. He wrote about his move from the Soviet Union to New York in 1979. It was "equivalent to stumbling off a monochromatic cliff and Purchased at The Strand and started in NYC. 56 short chapters spanning 1933 to 2009. All were good. Some of my favorites were Amy Sedaris, who used to throw used tea bags into her spare bedroom and watch them freeze. David Rakoff, whose goal was to resemble one of the many characters in MANHATTAN...in other words, be a New Yorker! Gary Shteyngart's story was wonderful. He wrote about his move from the Soviet Union to New York in 1979. It was "equivalent to stumbling off a monochromatic cliff and landing in pure technicolor". Note to self: Read some Shteyngart!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Allan

    One of the books that I picked up on my trip to NYC last Christmas - an enjoyable anthology of coming to New York stories as told to New York magazine by famous people, and arranged chronologically to give a definite sense of the changing city. A quick and enjoyable read, if a little light content wise in places in comparison to some similar titles that I've read. One of the books that I picked up on my trip to NYC last Christmas - an enjoyable anthology of coming to New York stories as told to New York magazine by famous people, and arranged chronologically to give a definite sense of the changing city. A quick and enjoyable read, if a little light content wise in places in comparison to some similar titles that I've read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alec Rigdon

    You couldn't ask for a better selection of stories to read if you are still starry-eyed and hopeful about living in or moving to New York. You can almost feel the memories come flooding back to the story tellers as they recall the good times and the bad with very rose colored lenses. You couldn't ask for a better selection of stories to read if you are still starry-eyed and hopeful about living in or moving to New York. You can almost feel the memories come flooding back to the story tellers as they recall the good times and the bad with very rose colored lenses.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    i just LOVE reading books about new york.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Fun read! Picked this up in a great bookshop in NY - Three Lives. If you love great independent bookshops, check this one out.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hazel

    I just had to cherish every little story in this book. I wanted to sort of read it when I'm feeling depressed or tired or sad... I love New York. In fact, I am in LOVE with New York. Everything I read in this book just brings me back to MY FIRST New York. No, I do not live in New York, never have. New York has been that place in my dreams - where my favorite movies took place, where my favorite stories & characters are from. I can tell a something I'm watching was shot in New York even though I h I just had to cherish every little story in this book. I wanted to sort of read it when I'm feeling depressed or tired or sad... I love New York. In fact, I am in LOVE with New York. Everything I read in this book just brings me back to MY FIRST New York. No, I do not live in New York, never have. New York has been that place in my dreams - where my favorite movies took place, where my favorite stories & characters are from. I can tell a something I'm watching was shot in New York even though I haven't lived in New York. I've been there twice, and every time I was there I would walk aimlessly. I always find myself walking from Penn Station to the MoMA. Then back to SoHo having Dinner somewhere in Little Italy or just having drinks with my cousins. I love Central Park so much that I often dreamt of being proposed to at the famous bow bridge in Central Park one Autumn afternoon. (Still waiting for my New York Moment! haha). This book brings me back to exactly how I felt when I first walked the streets of Manhattan, finally seeing Broadway and Times Square. My parents, aunts and uncles were wary that I'm walking Manhattan alone every time I'm there, but I just felt more free and I could breathe better when I walk these streets alone. The last time I was there was when I needed to recover from a cheating husband and my unemployment for nearly a year. The two weeks I spent with this city rejuvenated me and gave me strength to go on with life. True enough, I got a job 2 weeks after and went upwards since. It is true - this is a concrete jungle where dreams are made of. If you love New York - this is a book you need to have in your shelves.

  10. 5 out of 5

    KOMET

    For anyone who has a fascination with and desire to experience New York, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. I very much enjoyed reading about the experiences of those people who, through the decades, came to New York for the first time in their lives. For me, I first visited New York as a little boy in August 1971. My memories of that experience are contained in fleeting vignettes. Since that time, I have visited New York 4 other times: April 1982, July 1995, August 2003 (shortly after the Great Blackout), a For anyone who has a fascination with and desire to experience New York, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. I very much enjoyed reading about the experiences of those people who, through the decades, came to New York for the first time in their lives. For me, I first visited New York as a little boy in August 1971. My memories of that experience are contained in fleeting vignettes. Since that time, I have visited New York 4 other times: April 1982, July 1995, August 2003 (shortly after the Great Blackout), and September 2008. I am fairly ambivalent about the place. But I can appreciate why so many other people come to New York and fully embrace what it has to offer. After all, New York is a very lively, engaging, and colorful city that never sleeps.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Have never been to New York, never seen it with my own eyes, but have always wanted to live there since I was about ten years old, which is when I realized that life and this world is bigger than the limits of my rinky - dinky town. Although this book is not the best piece of literature to exist, it was very good and really makes you feel like you're the one strolling the sidewalks of the city, visiting the shops and clubs, etc. Some stories sort of don't have much meat to them or make sense, oc Have never been to New York, never seen it with my own eyes, but have always wanted to live there since I was about ten years old, which is when I realized that life and this world is bigger than the limits of my rinky - dinky town. Although this book is not the best piece of literature to exist, it was very good and really makes you feel like you're the one strolling the sidewalks of the city, visiting the shops and clubs, etc. Some stories sort of don't have much meat to them or make sense, occasionally, in my opinion, but overall if you're just looking for a light read about the big city - you have found the right book. I can only hope that one day I have a fabulous New York story like all of these incredible people.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Such a quick, fantastic read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    Fun collection of New York memoires that make me very excited to create my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linda Santavicca

    I identified with every written testimony. Moving into NYC in the 80’s...it was a different city than it is today.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brittney

    I’m giving it 3.5: This is a compilation of “firsts” for a variety of relatively famous people moving to NYC. I picked it up because, well, I just moved to the city and have an affinity for these offbeat love stories. While filled with several “tidbits of wisdom” and quotable one liners, most of the stories had what I considered incomplete endings and often just made me think “what was the point in this?” Overall, a quick read; certainly worth the small amount I paid for it. I’ll keep it and refe I’m giving it 3.5: This is a compilation of “firsts” for a variety of relatively famous people moving to NYC. I picked it up because, well, I just moved to the city and have an affinity for these offbeat love stories. While filled with several “tidbits of wisdom” and quotable one liners, most of the stories had what I considered incomplete endings and often just made me think “what was the point in this?” Overall, a quick read; certainly worth the small amount I paid for it. I’ll keep it and refer back to the stories I liked; however, not what I was expecting. Half I loved; half I could do without.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Jenkins

    This was a quick and easy read. Perfect for the subway as I navigated around the city explained in its pages. While there was nothing life changing about this book it is interesting to read of so many different experiences. Everyone remembers their first time in New York. I sure do, and how I immediately fell in love with the city. Some people are eloquent and descriptive in their memories, while others are short and to the point. I may not know who many of the people are, but, in some weird way This was a quick and easy read. Perfect for the subway as I navigated around the city explained in its pages. While there was nothing life changing about this book it is interesting to read of so many different experiences. Everyone remembers their first time in New York. I sure do, and how I immediately fell in love with the city. Some people are eloquent and descriptive in their memories, while others are short and to the point. I may not know who many of the people are, but, in some weird way, I feel like I understand them. That this wonderful city has connected us.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Radhika Meganathan

    A bunch of short and sweet essays, or rather reminiscences of prominent New Yorkers on how they came to live in the Big Apple. It was inspiring to boot, because you keep reading about these poor and often desperate people who land up in the one of the biggest, ruthless city in the world and they make it, all thansk to their gumption and hard work. Must read for anybody visiting NYC shortly, or having even the lightest interest in New York city.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sue M. Pienciak

    Interesting Not exactly what I was expecting, but an enjoyable read. I grew up in Jersey, 10 minutes from the outskirts of NYC. Haven't been there in a while, & miss it terribly. As I read, realized I fit into the category of tourist, not a true New Yorker. Would certainly be interesting to live there for a while, though I'm too old & wornout at this point. Good to read what it was like to actually live there. Interesting Not exactly what I was expecting, but an enjoyable read. I grew up in Jersey, 10 minutes from the outskirts of NYC. Haven't been there in a while, & miss it terribly. As I read, realized I fit into the category of tourist, not a true New Yorker. Would certainly be interesting to live there for a while, though I'm too old & wornout at this point. Good to read what it was like to actually live there.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This book isn’t going to stick in your mind forever, but I’m not sure it needs to. As a collection of short accounts, The New York Times have put together and interesting peek into the city over the years. Now it’s time to explore the city for myself… Read my short and sweet review on my blog: https://whatrebeccasread.wordpress.co... This book isn’t going to stick in your mind forever, but I’m not sure it needs to. As a collection of short accounts, The New York Times have put together and interesting peek into the city over the years. Now it’s time to explore the city for myself… Read my short and sweet review on my blog: https://whatrebeccasread.wordpress.co...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I am admittedly addicted to New York books and this one didn't disappoint. The stories told of the contributors' first experiences when moving to NYC made me think fondly of my own experience. I suppose I should right it down one day. I just might. Wonderful book for anyone who moved to NYC, or would like to some day. Loved it. I am admittedly addicted to New York books and this one didn't disappoint. The stories told of the contributors' first experiences when moving to NYC made me think fondly of my own experience. I suppose I should right it down one day. I just might. Wonderful book for anyone who moved to NYC, or would like to some day. Loved it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I bounced between 2-3 stars, however, the book could have had so much more charm to it. Some stories were funny, some relatable, but most not merely a story at all. Only read this because it was in the local books section of Book Culture here in the city. I wasn’t expecting magic anyway, but definitely missed something.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ivelisse Estrada

    I was quite looking forward to reading this book, but once I started the stories didn't leave me wanting more. I kept reading thinking I would find something exciting and memorable but nothing happened. I was quite looking forward to reading this book, but once I started the stories didn't leave me wanting more. I kept reading thinking I would find something exciting and memorable but nothing happened.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Khalia

    Fun book but extremely short. I thought the chapters would have breadth. One or two pages are the limit for the vignettes. If someone gets easily bored, they could enjoy the piece. It almost feels shallow to see such brevity.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    honestly, this isn’t really a particularly good collection. but it was timely for me, timed to my five year anniversary of moving to new york!! it’s crazy to see how nyc has both changed and yet stayed the same through the years.

  25. 4 out of 5

    monicadear

    Heartwarming tales of New Yorkers first arriving, from 1933 (David Dinkins) to 2009 (Jenny Joslin). Easy read - grew out of a recurring magazine feature in the New York magazine.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Really enjoyed this book. Very quick, fun read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Fun, light reading in small bites.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tian Huang

    Not everything is beautifully written, just like not everything is beautiful in NY. Yet how can someone not love a book full of love letters to the best city in the world...?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dwayne Ackley

    Traveling through the memories of others. So much fun to read. Very easy to read quickly but take the grime to enjoy everyone's New York story. Traveling through the memories of others. So much fun to read. Very easy to read quickly but take the grime to enjoy everyone's New York story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nat O.

    Felt this book was better for locals. Lots of folks and places I didn’t know but it still made miss the Big Apple

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