Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York

Ariel Sabar, Da Capo, $24 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7382-1379-8
Inspired by his parents' story of meeting in Washington Square Park, National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Sabar (for My Father's Paradise) looks at the "environmental psychology" of New York City's iconic public spaces and asks, "Could some places actually encourage people to take the first steps toward falling in love?" A chance meeting in 1941 between a runaway teenage girl and a sailor in Central Park results in a marriage of 64 years. A recently separated woman taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty meets a vacationing man and marries him two years later. Sabar introduces these stories with descriptions of the locations; rather than adding insight, however, they reveal an attempt to deepen a thin premise. Central Park, for instance, was conceived of "a social philosophy: that a city riven by economic stratification owed its masses an oasis from the ravages of toil." When a man meets his future wife in the subway, Sabar could be describing the city itself when he notes its appeal: "Anonymity-the ability to be simultaneously surrounded by and withdrawn from other people." Sabar may want readers to deeply consider his thesis but the strength of this effort lies in its sweetness. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 01/01/2011
MP3 CD - 978-1-4417-6836-0
Open Ebook - 273 pages - 978-0-306-81944-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-6835-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-6834-6
Paperback - 235 pages - 978-0-306-82080-9
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4417-6838-4
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