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My City, My New York by Jeryl Brunner

My City, My New York by Jeryl Brunner (my interview) is the perfect companion for a trip to the Big Apple — New York City — because it is a collection of hidden treasures from the celebrities, icons, foodies, and authors who live there.  Broken into seven sections — Secret Gardens & Hidden Spaces, Central Park: Acres of Green; New York Eats; Nocturnal New York; Saunters, Strolls, Sails, Rides & Rambles; Stores, Street Fairs, Boutiques & Bargains; and Superstar Structures, Sexy Spaces, Beatific Bridges & Arty Pockets — it is the epitome of an insider’s look at one of the largest and most intriguing cities in the world.  Clearly Brunner is right when she says in the introduction, “Most New Yorkers have rituals that connect them to their city in unique and personal ways” (page xiii); and we all have those rituals and personal connections to our home cities and even the cities and towns we grew up in.

“I’ll sit on a bench and get lost.  I always have a book with me — I usually have a little notebook for taking notes.  I’ll either think that I’m going to read or think that I’ll write in my notebook, yet so often, I’ll just get really lost in the rustle of the leaves overhead and the birds singing.  I’ll follow a bird and really watch it until I can’t see it.  Time flies by,” says author Luanne Rice about Clement Clarke Moore Park.(page 13)

“I love to walk in neighborhoods that I don’t know very well.  My husband is a very serious photographer and he has a really great camera, and the two of us will just walk and walk and take pictures together.  And we’ll look at something and he’ll take a picture of it and then I’ll look at the same thing and then I’ll take a picture of it.  He likes to say, ‘One camera and four eyes.’,” says Bebe Neuwirth of their walk to the American Merchant Mariners Memorial. (page 145)

Brunner includes stories from a number of well-known actors who either moved to or have always lived in New York City, plus directors, Broadway actors, activists, and more.  What’s interesting is that each section is prefaced with not only a quote, but a little explanation of something special found in New York whether its the forgotten origins of community gardening or a local restaurant’s take on the food in the city.  The Great Saunter is just one of those fascinating moments in the book.  Moreover, under each anecdote, there is a list of the locations discussed, their addresses, and phone number and/or Website to find out more information.  There are literally dozens upon dozens of hidden New York gems and more famous sight seeing spots, like Central Park and Strawberry Fields, but what makes this unique is the routines, stories, and habits of those recommending these locations.  It reads more like a conversation between friends about their favorite hideouts and places to ruminate.  One of my personal favorites is from Hugh Jackman about how his son treats Central Park like a forest and sets out in the morning with a full backpack and does not return home until the sun has set.

My City, My New York by Jeryl Brunner is a must have for those visiting the city, especially for Book Bloggers taking an extra few days to explore the city in June for BBC and BEA, but it’s also great for those who love to know what their favorite celebrities enjoy.  Looking for highly recommended restaurants, bakeries, and other food venues while you are in the city, you’ll have to pick up a copy of this book and try some of these recommendations out.  And of course, there are the great night spots for hanging out, dancing, and schmoozing with friends.  Readers will want to find out what location Robin Williams was in when someone asked who the homeless man was, and they’ll definitely want to find out where “Toss the Rice” is.  Excellent behind-the-scenes guide for anyone interested in taking their time to explore the Big Apple.

This is my 6th book for the 2012 New Authors Challenge.

  • I’ve visited NYC only once but we fell in love with it. This will be great to take along on our next trip there! Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Oooh, this looks super fun. My wife and I try to go to NYC once a month or so, and this seems the perfect book for us to take along one time!

    • I really enjoyed this and I’m itching to try it out in the big NYC!

  • Ann

    The trips I’ve enjoyed most have been with someone who lives where I’ve visited. This sounds like a great book to read and enjoy NYC on a different level.
    Ann

    • I love those kinds of trips where people show me around their favorite haunts.

  • This sounds fantastic! I’d definitely buy this if I was planning to visit the city again.

    • I really loved it…and for a gossip girl like you…I think you’d enjoy it even if you are not visiting NYC anytime soon.

  • Diane ( bookchickdi)

    I moved to NYC four years ago and love to explore the city and this book sounds terrific! I’m going to look for it today.

    • Diane, I hope that you love it as much as I do. I really had a great time reading these anecdotes and learning about new places to explore.