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NYC Neighborhoods, Biblio File

The Best New York City Novels by Neighborhood


New York City has an awful lot going for it. Three of its most remarkable features are its amazing landmarks and cultural institutions, the diversity of its neighborhoods, and, of course, the flourishing literary communities in these neighborhoods that pull it all together. Famously, New York is one of those rare places where you can walk a single mile and experience several unique, rare, and special places one after the other. What's more, the people you'll meet along the way are equally as unique, rare, and special (also: weird) as the spaces they inhabit. It's no wonder that New York is one of the most written-about places on the planet! Whether you're into the grit and grime of the seedy underbelly of New York, or the romantic adventures offered up by its most beautiful places, there's a novel out there waiting to give you a glimpse of what NYC has going on.

For the reader who just can't get enough of those busy city streets, or is just dying to know where exactly in the five boroughs their favorite characters are inhabiting, here is a list of famous New York City-based novels according to the neighborhood in which they take place—complete with an interactive map of nearby landmarks and attractions!

American Psycho


Financial District

World Trade Center


The Gods of Gotham

The Bowery

Five Points

Lower East Side


Great Jones Street

Alphabet City

  • Call It Sleep by Henry Roth
    Nearby: Tompkins Square Park, Union Square

Greenwich Village


Flatiron District

  • Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
    Nearby: The Flatiron Building, Madison Square Park, Empire State Building



  • Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
    Nearby: The Chelsea Hotel, The Highline


  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Nearby: Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, The Crysler Building, The United Nations
Breakfast at Tiffany's

Times Square

Fifth Avenue

Central Park

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    Nearby: The Central Park Zoo, The Central Park Carousel, Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, The Boathouse
The Catcher in the Rye

Upper East Side

Upper West Side

Morningside Heights


Invisible Man




A Tree GRows in Brooklyn


Downtown Brooklyn

  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
    Nearby: BAM, Barclay's Center, Brooklyn Navy Yard

Brooklyn Heights

  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner
    Nearby: Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Boerum Hill

Park Slope

Flatbush/Ditmas Park

Native Speaker

Sunset Park/Bay Ridge

  • Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.
    Nearby: Green-Wood Cemetery, Sunset Park, Dyker Beach Golf Course

Brighton Beach






Rockaway Beach

Bonfire of the vanities


South Bronx

University Heights

West Bronx/Fordham

Staten Island

Small Mercies

Port Richmond

Is this map missing something? Let us know in the comments section!



Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

What about

Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn or Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem for the Brooklyn section? Nice list!

What about

Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn or Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem for the Brooklyn section? Nice list!

I recently read Lena Finkle's

I recently read Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel, a graphic novel set in Moscow and Kensington, BK.

Lower East Side's section

The LES section should have Lush Life by Richard Price in it!

Two Augusts In a Row In a Row

Two Augusts In a Row In a Row commences in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2001.

NYC neighborhood books

"Ragtime" belongs in Murray Hill (Morgan Library) - and how could you leave out "Time and Again" by Jack Finney?


Nothing for the Garment District? Surely...

The Museum of Extraordinary

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman takes place in Brighton at the beginning of the 20 century

Hell's Kitchen

Interesting! I just read a novel by a young Spanish author which is set in Hell's Kitchen: "Tormenta Sangrienta" ('Bloody Storm'), by Tony Jiménez. It's a horror history wrote in Stephen King's style.


84 CHARING CROSS ROAD is set in the Upper East Side (the building in which Helene Hanff lived, featured prominently in the novel, has a plaque on the front of the building commemorating it). Also, the children's books, ALL OF A KIND FAMILY by Sydney Taylor, are set in the Lower East Side until they move "uptown" (The Bronx) in the third book.

84 Charing Cross Road

84 CCR is a great read but it is non-fiction.

You forgot!

"New York" by Edward Rutherfurd. It's a fabulous novel.

What about

Atticus Lish's Preparation for the Next Life is an incredible portrait of Flushing, Queens as well as other Queens neighborhoods like Corona. Gritty, devastating realism at its best.

What about

Dogfight: A Love Story by Matt Burgess, set in Jackson Heights, Queens. Very nice list.

Washington Heights -

Washington Heights - "Forgiving Maximo Rothman" by AJ Sidransky Upper West Side - Stealing a Summer's Afternoon by AJ Sidransky

Paul auster's ny trilogy and

Paul auster's ny trilogy and moon palace. Uws.

Nicholasa Mohr

El Bronx Remembered by Nicholasa Mohr is an excellent short story collection.


Perhaps you would consider including "Closing Time," the last novel set in Tribeca prior to 9/11 - it was published on Sept. 10, 2001 - and "A Well-Known Secret," the first novel set in downtown to be published after 9/11.

Gramercy Park - Jack Finney's

Gramercy Park - Jack Finney's Time and Again. East Village/Lower East side - Richard Price's Lush Life Agree that Motherless Brooklyn should have been on the list, and disagree that Prospect Park West should be

Another book set in NYC and Brooklyn

'May I Be Frank' by Anne Carmichael is set in Brooklyn and NYC. I only hope Vincent Van Gato (head of the feline mafia) does not get wind of this snub. I mean, at least 4 pivotal scenes in the book happened right on the Brooklyn Bridge. Then there were scenes in the subway, on the train into Grand Central Station.and do I even need to mention Vinnie's penthouse on Park Avenue and the jewel heist at the Central Park Carousel? Why, my favorite illustration was Monty Borror's Central Park Carousel. 'May I Be Frank' is Book #2 in the Magoo Who Series (series of 4). Give it a look!

Doctorow's NYC novels

Doctorow's novels: World's Fair, Billy Bathgate, Homer and Langley

Park Slope

Paul Auster's Brooklyn Follies

Manhattan-Yep all of it!

Forever by Pete Hamill



In Paul Auster's "City of

In Paul Auster's "City of Glass" the protagonist walks the streets of Morningside Heights. Oscar Hijuelos "Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love" takes place in the West 120s.

What about...

Chinatown Beat by Henry Chang

Greenpoint & Williamsburg

Kate Christensen's The Astral (Greenpoint) and Jami Attenberg's The Kept Man (Williamsburg) are the seminal novels for those neighborhoods in my eyes.


As publishers of Ben Nadler's forthcoming novel THE SEA BEACH LINE, we'd like to suggest his book as an addition to the Brooklyn lit titles (Coney Island/Brighton Beach/Sheepshead Bay), although a fair amount of the novel takes place in Manhattan neighborhoods as well.

Where is Washington Heights

Where is Washington Heights/Inwood? Did I miss it?

Washington Heights... apparently too Latin@ to be included on this list...and everyone knows Latin@s don't read! /sarcasm

The Brief and Wonderous Life

The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao

Irish Ice, W Brian Perry

About Irish living in the Bronx.

Lush Life, Richard Price,

Lush Life, Richard Price, Lower East Side

A Little Life on Lispenard

Lispenard Street and Greene Street in Manhattan feature heavily in "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara.


Two misses: Atticus Lish's Preparation for the Next Life is an amazing take on Flushing and Queens generally Sam Lipsyte's The Ask is a good Astoria novel as well.

Florence Gordon by Brian

Florence Gordon by Brian Morton (Upper West Side)

Killing Williamsburg

Killing Williamsburg by Bradley Spinelli (2013, Le Chat Noir). Set in 1999, this novel documents the neighborhood on the verge of gentrification while tracing a fictional suicide epidemic. The book traverses Williamsburg (the protagonist lives on N. 6th Street and Driggs), with scenes at well-known landmarks such as McCarren Park and the old burnt-out waterfront (now East River Park), as well as many businesses that are now long gone.

I suppose you could debate

I suppose you could debate about whether "The Basketball Diaries" could be considered a novel. It would place Inwood on the map. Jim Carroll lived at 585 Isham Street during the period detailed in the book, and returned to the address in 2008, where he lived for the rest of his life.

A Meaningful Life

L.J. Davis' "A Meaningful Life" is a terrific book set in/around Downtown Brooklyn/Fort Greene in the 70s, and it takes a darkly humorous look at the poor conditions and the manipulative real-estate practices of the era. On a separate note--is "Age of Innocence" really Upper East Side? I'd have that pegged as Washington Square/Greenwich Village/Union Square, home to the 19th-century old-New-York elites.

Age of innocence

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments and am very curious about this placement on the upper east side.

Another Wall Street work

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street by Herman Melville, which is either a long short story or a short novel, a novella.

Among the missing

I'm really, really disappointed that these were not on your list: When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas Any one of Nicholasa Mohr's novels The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos There are so many more

More Brooklyn?

Tropic of Capricorn also has scenes in Ditmas Park. Where are the Paul Auster books? Sunset Park in... Sunset Park; Brooklyn Follies in Park Slope (City of Glass previously mentioned).

Dreaming in Cuban

Dreaming in Cuban should be on the map for Brooklyn Heights, such a good story

Paul Auster's sunset park

Paul Auster's sunset park The gangs of New York on the road It's kind of a funny story The brief marvelous life of Oscar wao Slaughterhouse 5 Brighton beach memoirs

"Motherless Brooklyn" makes

"Motherless Brooklyn" makes great references to many neighborhoods in Brooklyn: Carroll Gardens, Downtown, Brooklyn Heights.

UES and the Met

"Harriet the Spy" and "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler" -- classics for the Upper East Side. Formative for those of us who grew up there, especially girls!

The Pigman - Staten Island

The Pigman by Paul Zindel is based in Staten Island, including a scene in Moravian Cemetery.


GRAVESEND by William Boyle - Gravesend section of Brooklyn.

Queens and the Bronx

Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem. Much of it takes place in Sunnyside, Queens. Also, Alice McDermott seems to have written several novels about Irish New Yorkers. I've read Charming Billy, and it takes place partially in the North Bronx.

Alice McDermott

Very good for Charming Billy. Alice McDermott is the bard of the outer boroughs, who sings of Irish American Catholics. At Weddings and Wakes, Someone, and After This are all set in Brooklyn and Queens. Her Bigamist's Daughter is a love story set in mid-town Manhattan.

World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow

World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow, takes place on Eastburn Avenue in The Bronx.

Hells Kitchen

Bringing Out The Dead by Joe Connelly. Hells Kitchen of the late 80s/early 90s.

Park Slope

A Drinking Life by Peter Hamill was set all over the South Slope and Windsor Terrace. In particular, the area near 12th St. and 7th Ave. Also, if I recall correctly, part of Tropic of Capricorn was set on 6th Avenue near Carroll St.

Fractured Facade, by Elena De rosa

I would like to add this book link :

"Sister Carrie" by Theodore Dreiser

You may want to set it in the theater district...

The Extra Man

The book titled, 'The Extra Man' by Jonathan Ames (creator of the HBO series 'Bored to Death') is based in the Upper East Side, but references several other NYC neighborhoods as well.

Fantastic Project!

What a terrific project, I hope it is continued! Two titles I would add- Oscar Hijuelos "Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love" for Manhattanville and Morningside Heights Herman Wouk "Marjorie Morningstar" for the Bronx, Upper Westside and Hunter College

Kill The Balloons

Kill The Balloons came out within the last year. Anthony Joseph Morrone. Pretty much closes the book on Williamsburg.

No Colum McCann? THIS SIDE

No Colum McCann? THIS SIDE OF BRIGHTNESS or LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN? And Lynne Tillman for the East Village.

Jackson Heights novel

I really enjoyed Dogfight: A Love Story by Matthew Burgess. A gritty, hilarious story set in Jackson Heights.

Sunnyside, Queens: Dissident

Sunnyside, Queens: Dissident Gardens - Jonathan Lethem 7th Ave., Manhattan: Balls - Julian Tepper Times Square, Soho: Bright Lights, Big City - Jay McInerney Washington Heights: Bang the Drum Slowly - Mark Harris Times Square, Midtown: City of Night - John Rechy Meatpacking District: Veronica - Mary Gaitskill Midtown: Easter Parade - Richard Yates Washington Heights; the Bronx: Underworld - Don DeLillo Harlem: Passing - Nella Larsen Harlem: The Blacker the Berry - Wallace Thurman Harlem: Infants of the Spring - Wallace Thurman Harlem: Home to Harlem - Claude McKay Harlem: Strivers Row - Kevin Baker Lower East Side: Paradise Alley - Kevin Baker Brooklyn waterfront: The Big Crowd - Kevin Baker Flushing Meadows: Sometimes You See It Coming - Kevin Baker Coney Island: Dreamland - Kevin Baker Coney Island: Luna Park - Kevin Baker & Danijel Žeželj Staten Island: The Swing Voter of Staten Island - Arthur Nersesian Cross Bronx Expressway: The Sacrificial Circumcision of the Bronx - Arthur Nersesian Lower East Side: Chinese Takeout - Arthur Nersesian East Village: Dogrun - Arthur Nersesian Times Square: Gladyss of the Hunt - Arthur Nersesian Manhattan Loverboy - Arthur Nersesian Times Square: Suicide Casanova - Arthur Nersesian

Lots and lots...

Paul Zindel, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man In The Moon Marigolds: Prince's Bay Staten Island Joseph O'Neill, Netherland, St. George Staten Island Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck Up, East Village, Lower East Side Caleb Carr, The Alienist: Five Points, East Village, Greenwich Village, City Hall Jami Attenberg, Saint Mazie: The Bowery, Lower East Side, Coney Island Edith Wharton: The House of Mirth, Greenwich Village Mario Puzo, The Godfather: Brooklyn, Little Italy, Todt Hill Staten Island Judith Rossner, Looking for Mr. Goodbar: the upper east side Don Delillo; Underworld: Upper Manhattan / The Polo Grounds Claire Messud, The Emperor's Children:

more nyc

Sunnyside, Queens: Dissident Gardens - Jonathan Lethem; 7th Ave., Manhattan: Balls - Julian Tepper; Times Square, Soho: Bright Lights, Big City - Jay McInerney; Washington Heights: Bang the Drum Slowly - Mark Harris; Times Square, Midtown: City of Night - John Rechy; Meatpacking District: Veronica - Mary Gaitskill; Midtown: Easter Parade - Richard Yates; Washington Heights; the Bronx: Underworld - Don DeLillo; Harlem: Passing - Nella Larsen; Harlem: The Blacker the Berry - Wallace Thurman; Harlem: Infants of the Spring - Wallace Thurman; Harlem: Home to Harlem - Claude McKay; Harlem: Strivers Row - Kevin Baker; Lower East Side: Paradise Alley - Kevin Baker; Brooklyn waterfront: The Big Crowd - Kevin Baker; Flushing Meadows: Sometimes You See It Coming - Kevin Baker; Coney Island: Dreamland - Kevin Baker; Coney Island: Luna Park - Kevin Baker & Danijel Žeželj; Staten Island: The Swing Voter of Staten Island - Arthur Nersesian; Cross Bronx Expressway: The Sacrificial Circumcision of the Bronx - Arthur Nersesian; Lower East Side: Chinese Takeout - Arthur Nersesian; East Village: Dogrun - Arthur Nersesian; Times Square: Gladyss of the Hunt - Arthur Nersesian; Manhattan Loverboy - Arthur Nersesian; Times Square: Suicide Casanova - Arthur Nersesian

What About

The Alienist by Caleb Carr! Grammercy, Five Points, SoHo...

Bright Lights, Big City

Missing the quintessential novel of downtown NYC in the 1980s, "Bright Lights, Big City," though maybe it covers too many different neighborhoods to be pinpointed on the map (I would categorize it as Tribeca for the Odeon references).


From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt


From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt

While we're at it

Up in the Old Hotel is a collection of essays, not a novel. I missed Maggie a Girl of the Streets (Bowery), The Rise of David Levinsky (Lower East Side), Manchild in the Promised Land (Harlem). If multiple books from Paul Auster and Jonathan Lethem are included, then other authors like Doctorow (as already mentioned) deserve more titles: Baldwin, Another Country (Greenwich Village), Wharton, House of Mirth (Upper East Side). Melville's Bartleby and Pierre have lots of specific neighborhood experiences and they both sadly end up in the same place.

Some Suggestions:

1) Start a second list for children and teens. Judy Blume has quite a few books set in the region. There are also many Newbery Medal winners. Three lists... juv novels, teen novels, picture books. "Unbuilding" by David Macaulay is my suggestion. 2) Joseph Mitchell's two books (My Ear is Bent, from his newspaper writing) cover numerous areas of the city and the region, circa 1940s 1950s. "Up in the Old Hotel" is about an abandoned hotel near the Fulton Fish Market. Oh, wait... those aren't novels, but essays! So... 2.5) How about a list about the best non-fiction about the city, specifically certain aspects, like taxis, the subway, bars, restaurants, memoirs, architecture...? 3) Watchmen is set primarily near Times Square. Ex Machina, mostly near City Hall. DMZ, most of Manhattan below Central Park. Will Eisner's semi-autobiographical stories are set mostly in the Bronx, at the fictional Dropsie Avenue. Scott McCloud's The Sculptor... 4) Any science fiction? 5) How about a list of the best film adaptations of New York City novels? The Godfather, for example. Soylent Green.

Agreed re: kids/YA - Add From

Agreed re: kids/YA - Add From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to the Met, and for little kids, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge to start.

you might be interested in

you might be interested in these lists from Stephanie:

I would also like the lists

I would also like the lists in this suugestion: taxis, subways, specific buildings, memoirs, etc. J

Rage is Back: A Novel

By Adam Mansbach. DUMBO, the Heights, and various other places graffiti artists would hang out. A good read that tastes like NYC.

Co-op City, The Bronx - Dark Tower Series

From Wikipedia: In the Dark Tower novels by Stephen King, the character Eddie Dean is portrayed as being from Co-op City. In Dean's first appearance, in the second book, The Drawing of the Three, Co-op City is correctly identified as being in the Bronx, while in later novels it is incorrectly portrayed as being in Brooklyn. Central to the series is the concept of alternate realities, so in some such realities Co-op City may have been in Brooklyn. King rectifies the discrepancy in the final novels of the series.

Stuart Little!

E. B. White, Stuart Little for the Upper East Side with scenes in Central Park, Fifth Ave., 110th St.

park slope/ebbet's field/. Morningside heights

Pete Hamill's Snow in August is a lovely novel about a shabbos goy in Park Slope. And many great scenes take place in Ebbet's Field. The rabbi and young boy go to see Jackie Robinson play. Also, as others have mentioned, Mambo Kings takes place on La Salle St. In Morningside Heights

you forgot

The Alienist (Gramercy, Flat Iron) A Winter'sTale (UWS)

Coney Island

Kevin Baker's Dreamland, set mostly in Coney Island and the LES.

Kevin Baker x1000!

His entire NYC trilogy, but if only one can be included, Dreamland MUST be in here. It's fantastic.

Best nyc novels by neighborhood

coming of age in Central Park is all about Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk

Dreamland by Kevin Baker

Another great NYC-based historical fiction!

Central Park

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

Coney Island

Luna Park by Kevin Baker, Vaclav and Lena by Haley Atwell are both great Coney Island area books The Magicians by Lev Grossman is a fantastic Park Slope area book. The Cricket in Times Square is the reason I moved to the city in the first place.

Greenwich Village

Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard is Greenwich Village

Billy Bathgate by EL Doctorow

Billy Bathgate by EL Doctorow - University Heights Bronx

best NYC novels

LUSH LIFE by Richard Price. lower east side, great read!

Where are the golems?

Two key omissions: 1. The Golem and the Jinni, by Helen Wecker. Takes place on the lower east side (I think) 2. Snow in August, by Pete Hamill. Set in Brooklyn. Both are wonderful books.

astoria-related book!

YIELD by Lee Houck.

The Best New York City Novels by Neighborhood

Lest we forget: Adam Berlin’s “The Number of Missing,” a brutally honest novel that relives the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy through the eyes of nearby residents.

I'm sure someone has

I'm sure someone has suggested this already, but Maus by Art Spiegelman is set at least partially in Rego Park, Queens.

Not neighborhood based, but definitely very New York novels...

Forever, A Novel, by Pete Hamill and Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (just forget that there was a movie made based on it.)

S.J. Rozan

Excellent series of novels featuring Lydia Chin and Bill Smith. Based in Chinatown and extending uptown, including the novel Concourse.

More books

Henry Roth's "Call It Sleep" - Lower East Side Henry Roth's "A Star Shines Over Mount Morris Park" - Harlem Gilbert Sorrentino's "Steelwork" and "Crystal Vision" - Bay Ridge Daniel Fuchs' "Summer in Williamsburg" - duh Irving Shulman's "The Amboy Dukes" - Brownsville Jay Neugeboren's "An Orphan's Tale" - Brownsville Gerald Green's "To Brooklyn with Love" - Brownsville Wallace Markfield's "Teitlebaum’s Window" - Flatbush Paula Fox's "Desperate Characters" - Brooklyn Heights Emily Gould's "Friendship" - Williamsburg Pietro di Donato's "Christ in Concrete" - Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill Hubert Selby Jr.'s "Requiem for a Dream" - Brighton Beach Michael Stephens' "The Brooklyn Book of the Dead - East New York Julia Dahl's "Invisible City" - Gowanus Bernard Malamud's "The Assistant" - Gravesend Adelle Waldman's "The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P." - Clinton Hill

Park Slope: Reconstructing

Park Slope: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Great Project!

Much of Re Jane by Patricia Park, a retelling of Jane Eyre among Korean-Americans, is set in Flushing, Queens, and Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Someone else has mentioned Henele Wecker'sThe Golem and the Jinni, so I will only add it's a GREAT book, set in 1900 Lower East Side and Little Syria, which used to be in Lower Manhattan.

Books about NYC

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. It takes place in the Lower East and Lower West Sides in 1899.

Harold Robbins

Harold Robbins set several of his books in NYC. A Stone for Danny Fisher, Never Love a Stranger and 79 Park Avenue, all in Manhattan, and maybe others. And, no, I'm not related.

Omissions and Adjustments

I'd like to advocate for Helprin's WINTER'S TALE, and I would argue that Grand Central is a less important locale in Gatsby than either Flushing (the Valley of Ashes) or Harlem (site of Tom's secret Apartment).

another novel set in Greenwich Village

For another novel set in Greenwich Village, I'd recommend A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer.

From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt

Don't forget the classic Rockaway novel/Vintage Contemporary, "FROM ROCKAWAY" by Jill Eisenstadt

From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt

Don't forget the classic Rockaway novel/Vintage Contemporary, "FROM ROCKAWAY" by Jill Eisenstadt

Old New York City omission

Certainly there is a place on the list for Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth.

Thomas Pynchon

I'd recommend Bleeding Edge, Pynchon's 9/11 novel, most of it set on the Upper West Side.

Falling Man

Falling Man by Dom DeLillo is the best book yet about the 9/11 atrocity.

Falling Man

Dom DeLillo's Falling Man is the best novel about the 9/11 atrocity. He has brought the terrible event down to individual experience.

Falling Man

HDom DeLillo's Falling Man is by far the best novel about the 9/11 atrocity. He brings the terrible event down to human scale. Not historic, not sweeping, but about a few victim and participants.

Ernesto Quinones

Spanish Harlem: Ernesto Quinones' Bodega Dreams and Chango's Fire

NYC novel

Harlem: The Street by Ann Petry

NY Novels

Colson Whitehead's zombie novel, Zone 1, lower Manhattan; Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World, Brooklyn; Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Brooklyn Heights and Manhattan.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler

A delightful book for all ages about two kids who run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Two more Brooklyn additions

Rebecca Stead's LIAR & SPY for Ditmas Park/Midwood and Julia Dahl's INVISIBLE CITY for Gowanus/Borough Park.


Madeleine's Ghost, by Robert Girardi

More books

Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh. Upper East Side, Carl Schurz Park

More Washington Heights

Fort Greene

Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

The Best New York City

Fantastic list of reading centered in and around New York City. Thank you.


You left out the recent novel by Mary Costello, "Academy Street."

The Map is Missing

Where did the map go? Can we get it back, please?

Shulman's Amboy Dukes

Shulman's Amboy Dukes Goldman's Marathon Man


With out question a coming of age type novel I read in 10th grade English, Claude Brown's masterpiece, "Manchild in the Promised Land". Based mostly in Harlem in the 1940's - 50's, with some downtown references. A must read for the feel of "real" New Yorkers!!

The Fortunate Pilgrim

It is amazing how little recognition is given to Mario Puzo's masterpiece, "The Fortunate Pilgrim". Perhaps because it is overshadowed by the purple prose of his best seller, "The Godfather". The novel is a matchless depiction of the immigrant and First Generation Italian American community of Clinton/Hell's Kitchen which I remember very well. The Irish lived on 10th Avenue the Italians on 9th and an uneasy truce existed between them. Too little attention is given to the Italian American. This book although very different in treatment compares very well to Henry Roth's masterpiece, "Call It Sleep".

Jackson Heights

I recommend both Matthew Thomas’ “We Are Not Ourselves” and "Dogfight, A Love Story" by Matt Burgess as great novels for Jackson Heights.

Add to NYC (general)

Paul Goodman, "The Empire City: A N ovel of New York City" , 1959 then reprinted 2001. Really a "tetralogy" of 4 novels, from Depression to post-War.

"Staten Island in Fiction

"Staten Island in Fiction 1896-2015" by Jeffrey Coogan lists all fictional works set on Staten Island and the index breaks them down by neighborhood.

Morningside Heights

Cheryl Mendelson's wonderful Morningside Heights trilogy belongs on this list.

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