Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin, 1983
Futuristic New York that takes its title from the Shakespeare play and shares a central character who disappears and returns many years later, a changed man.
The Alienist, Caleb Carr, 1994
Carr’s best historical mystery follows a doctor pursuing a serial killer of boys through the well-etched streets of Victorian New York.
House of Mirth, Edith Wharton, 1905
Single artistic Lily Bart desperately seeks a rich husband in this Gilded Age tragedy.
1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir, Anne Roiphe, 1999
Roiphe’s carefully observed memoir of growing up rich, Jewish and isolated on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is intense and powerful.
Manhattan, When I Was Young, Mary Cantwell, 1996
Cantwell’s tale of arriving in Greenwich Village in the 1950s to work on a glossy is the pre-Sex and the City in the era of the two-martini lunch.
Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, Luc Sante, 1991
A pop culture classic chronicling the dives and lives of the Lower East Side, 1840 to 1920—well before the neighborhood became the home of the Gap and Starbucks.
Greenwich Village: A Guide to America’s Legendary Left Bank, Judith Stonehill, 2002
Full of delightful illustrations, maps, quotations, walking tours and tales of such luminaries as Walt Whitman, Edward Hopper and Willa Cather.
Poet in New York, Federico Garcia Lorca, 1940
Poems written in and about New York between 1929-1930, when Lorca was a student at Columbia University.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, Bernard Waber, 1965
The classic tale of a crocodile raised on 88th Street and his metropolitan adventures. For children up to 8.
Mishoo: Cosmopolitan Cat, Emily Fisher Landau, 2000
Published by the Whitney Museum of Art, this illustrated tale features a cat who belongs to an art collector who lives between New York, Palm Beach and Santa Fe. It was written by well-known art collector and philanthropist Emily Fisher Landau and includes reproductions of Warhol and Georgia O’Keefe paintings.
Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City, Janet Schulman, 2008
The illustrated true story of the hawk couple that made a nest on Fifth Avenue apartment building. When the coop owners removed their home, protesters picketed and proved how the birds had captured the heart of New Yorkers.
New York State of Mind, Billy Joel, 2005
The well-known singer wrote this ode to New York in 1976; almost thirty years later, the text (with accompanying illustrations) was published. For children up to 6.
The Old Pirate of Central Park, Robert Priest, 1999
A sweet picture book about a cranky New York City pirate who brings his toy ship to the boat pond in Central Park. For children up to 8.
Eloise, Kay Thompson, 1955
This classic children’s book follows six-year-old Eloise on her adventures (and misadventures) while living on the “tippy-top floor” of the Plaza Hotel.
Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock, 1954
Chaired with a broken leg, cranky Gotham photographer Jimmy Stewart peers out his back window, spying on his neighbors and realizing a husband has murdered his wife! Grace Kelly is glorious as his girlfriend, and extra pair of legs.
On the Waterfront, Elia Kazan, 1954
Failed boxer Marlon Brando could have been a contender in the masterful black-and-white drama about union strife on the New York docks.
Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese, 1990
Mid-level NYC mobster Ray Liotta tries to keep his head (and his marriage to Lorraine Bracco) together, between murders, cocaine highs, jail sentences and the kind of office politics where whacking replaces firing.
Manhattan, Woody Allen, 1979
Disenchanted urbanites grapple with love and relationships in 1970s New York. Cast includes Meryl Streep, the director’s longtime muse, Diane Keaton and a young Mariel Hemingway, who plays Allen’s character’s 17-year-old lover.
Arthur, Steve Gordon, 1981
Dudley Moore as a millionaire playboy forced to choose between his inheritance and the love of his live—a Queens waitress played by Liza Minnelli.
Barefoot in the Park, Gene Saks, 1967
In Saks’ film adaptation of Neil Simon’s 1963 play, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford play newlyweds moving into the typical first-year Manhattan apartment: the fifth-floor walkup.
The Way We Were, Sydney Pollack, 1973
The relationship between an idealistic Jewish woman (Barbara Streisand) and a laid-back WASP (Robert Redford) falls apart in the Age of McCarthyism. College scenes were shot at Union College in Schenectady, New York while the ending, immortalized by Sex and the City, takes place before the Plaza.
Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese, 1976
In a role that largely shot him to stardom (and cemented his penchant for sociopathic characters), DeNiro plays Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable Vietnam veteran who, when suffering from insomnia, takes on a nighttime cab-driving gig.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Blake Edwards, 1961
This iconic romantic comedy starts Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, a lovable society girl with a penchant for oversize sunglasses, little black dresses and Tiffany & Co. jewels.