WHERE IS NEW YORK?
After five years in Paris, Adam Gopnik moved his family back to New York. His children could now go through "The Children's Gate," the actual entrance to Central Park at 76th Street that opens onto a playground. This entrance is for Gopnik a symbol of the "civilization of childhood" in New York, one which he wanted his children to enter and embrace. At first, the new New York seemed safer and shinier than ever. But not long after their return, the fabric of living became frayed by 9/11.
The subject of the last five years worth of his essays all turn on these shadows and lights: on raising two children in New York in a time of fear, and how fear is transmuted into hope, and hope even into joy, by their presence.
In his new book, Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York, Gopnik's extended urban family of teachers, coaches, therapists, adversaries, and friends put his new home under the spell of the sort of characters only the city's unique civilization could produce, but with the long shadow of mortality hanging over all. Yet " Shadows," he writes, "are all we have to show us the shapes that light can make."
In conversation with Paul Holdengräber, he will discuss and argue about the centrality of childhood to our ideas of meaning, the fact or myth of a "Post 9/11" New York, and the latest adventures of Charlie Ravioli, the imaginary New York friend who is always too busy to play with you.
About Adam Gopnik
Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. In 2000, he began writing the New York Journal, about the culture and daily life of New York City. He previously spent five years in Paris, writing his Paris Journal, a similar column about manners and mores in Paris. Gopnik's work has been awarded three National Magazine Awards and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. Gopnik is the author of Paris to the Moon and The King in the Window. His new book, published by Knopf, is Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York.
About Paul Holdengräber
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of Public Programs - now known as "LIVE from the NYPL" - for The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.