In May I reviewed an amazing book called City Love which follows the adventures of three girls in New York City. The setting was so vivid that I became curious–which spots in New York City most fascinate the author, Susane Colasanti? She was amazing enough to write this up for me. I’m going to try and visit these places sometime!
The second book in the City Love trilogy will be out in 2016.
Realistic fiction is my thing. I like incorporating details inspired by my own experiences to make my books feel as realistic as possible. City Love takes place in my favorite New York City neighborhood, the West Village. I’m having lots of fun including my fave New York City places and things in this trilogy. Some of these places can be found in So Much Closer and Take Me There, which are also set in the West Village. I thought it would be fun to share some of these places with you!
1. The High Line
When I moved to New York City almost 20 years ago, I heard about these old elevated train tracks. No one used them anymore. They were just sitting there being rusty. But word on the street was that they were going to be renovated into a green space.
I was psyched. That sounded like the coolest idea ever.
And then…nothing happened for a long time. Years passed. I kept hearing rumors about the renovations. No one really knew what was going on. Finally, the High Line opened in June 2009. I was beyond ecstatic. It was everything I imagined and more. You can still see the old train tracks (which I adore – I have a thing for train tracks) with flowers and tall grasses and trees growing all around. It’s such a unique place. The whole park feels like this Zen retreat where you can chill with friends and have an excellent view of the sunset. And find a peaceful oasis in a busy city, a place that transports you to a different world.
If you know me, you are well aware that I’m into cupcakes. Whoever invented the cupcake is a freaking genius. Hello, a mini cake with lots of frosting and sprinkles? Sign me up. You are probably also aware that all cupcakes are not created equal. Some are severely lacking. Some are woefully dry. Some look pretty, but have no taste. There are just so many things that can go wrong. When I find a quality cupcake, I’m fiercely loyal for life.
Which brings me to Crumbs.
I did not discover Crumbs at Crumbs. I was actually at my fave café on the Upper West Side, Café Lalo, when I noticed they had some new cupcakes. The cupcakes looked delicious. They had frosting in all different colors with lots of different toppings. I immediately ordered the chocolate cupcake with caramel buttercream frosting and Snickers on top. A transcendental experience ensued. They told me the cupcakes were from Crumbs. Crumbs is now a chain that has since expanded beyond New York–a sweet success story! Especially considering that the entire chain closed for a while. I mourned like I lost a best friend. But then Crumbs made an epic comeback. I busted out a dorky happy dance in the street like the hardcore cupcake fangirl I am. They don’t make the Snickerdoodle cupcake anymore, but there are lots of other delicious flavors. I recommend the Coffee Toffee and the Blueberry Cobbler. And of course the Pina Colada, which happens to be featured in So Much Closer during an extremely tense scene at Crumbs. Which, really, if life is about to smack you with an unexpected life-shattering turn, wouldn’t that be a good time for a cupcake?
3. Perry Street
When I was 15 or 16, we were driving through the West Village. I didn’t get to visit New York that often. But whenever I did, the amazing energy of this place would make me feel alive for days. That’s how I began to understand New York was my true home. And when we drove past Perry Street, I took one look down it as we went by and thought, That’s my street.
The Village is known for its quaint cobblestone walkways and zigzaggy streets. Tourists come to absorb the charm. There are so many gorgeous streets here. But a few of them really stand out. Perry Street is one of them. Carrie Bradshaw’s building in real life is on Perry Street, so there you go. In So Much Closer and City Love, Sadie goes out of her way not only to walk down Perry Street and Charles Street, but to walk down the prettiest sides of them. I completely understand. There are certain streets I won’t walk down because they are not pretty enough. I will go out of my way to cross over to 5th Avenue instead of walking up 6th. And if I’m walking crosstown from the West Village, you can probably find me on West 11th. It’s an energy thing. Sadie knows what I mean.
4. Strawberry Fields
There’s a place in Central Park where Beatles fans go to remember John Lennon. They bring guitars. They sing Beatles songs. They leave flowers and cards for John on a tile mosaic that says Imagine. That place is called Strawberry Fields. Tons of people gather there every single day. Strawberry Fields is located in a little clearing across from the Dakota, where John Lennon lived. It’s an intense place where people from all around the city go to worship at the altar of their musical religion. Take Me There, So Much Closer, and City Love all have scenes that take place at Strawberry Fields. And since I’m doing this thing where I’m bringing back characters from my previous books for my newer ones, you will find characters from Take Me There and So Much Closer in City Love. Strawberry Fields kinds of ties them together and shows how everything is connected. Love is the answer.
5. Water towers
Water towers rule.
That is all.