There are two main ways to get to know a city: being out and about in it, and reading about it. Since it’s a little dicey to be out and about in cities right now, particularly in New York City, this may be the best time to channel our NYC wanderlust into a NYC-centric book club.
In the NYC Nerds Book Club, every month we’ll read a book that is either about or takes places in NYC, and then at the end of the month we’ll roast it ~ahem~ I mean, discuss it. (Platform for the monthly discussion to be determined.)
And with that being said, get in, nerds, we’re starting a book club!
This month, January 2022, we’re reading “Only in New York: An Exploration of the World’s Most Fascinating, Frustrating, and Irrepressible City” by Sam Roberts. If you’re familiar with Roberts, this is essentially his New York Times podcast, “Only in New York,” converted into a book of essays where he discusses “what makes New York tick and why things are the way they are in the greatest of all cities on earth.”
I haven’t gotten that far into the book yet, but I do have some preliminary tips for you as you start reading:
As much as I love Pete Hamill’s writing (RIP), don’t read the foreword; it’ll turn you off from the book. On a similar note, don’t read Robert’s introduction either. What Roberts should have said instead at the beginning of this book is “Is it lazy that I turned my podcast episodes into a book? Maybe. But in the digital age, we’re all about repurposing content to work smarter, not harder. Besides, these stories about New York that I have reported on are so fascinating that they should be shared with as wide an audience as possible.”
Keep in mind that some of these stories go as far back as 2006, so the New York City he describes is a little different than the one we know now, but the information is still valuable. Overall, I’m hoping that this book is an informative, yet entertaining re-introduction to New York City and a fun way to start off the NYC Nerds Book Club.
You should be able to get “Only in New York” anywhere books are sold, but I do get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase the book using this affiliate link.
Looking forward to chatting about the book with you on January 28. Happy reading!
Before you go, if you like what I do here at Shiloh in the City and want to continue getting to know New York’s history, culture, and things to do with me, sign up for my email list and follow me on social media. Thanks for reading!