"The weird mix of self-loathing and arrogance that has been so often marked in the New York identity—'I live in a tough, rotten city, so I must be better than you'—simply does not hold up at a time when many visitors say that New York has grown almost, well, nice."
Kirk Johnson, and Marjorie Connelly, The New York Times
"As you may have heard, all the writers are in Brooklyn these days. It’s the place to be. You're simply not a writer if you don't live here. Google 'brooklyn writer' and you’ll get, Did you mean: the future of literature as we know it?"
Colson Whitehead, The New York Times
"Look, nobody from New York is supposed to be happy. LA, okay. It may be drug-induced happy. It may be fake happy, but at least it's...conceivable. But New Yorkers are supposed to be rude and sullen."
Randy Alcorn, Deception
"In Boston there is an utter absence of that wild electric beauty of New York, of the marvelous excited rush of people in taxicabs at twilight, of the great Avenues and Streets, the restaurants, theatres, bars, hotels, delicatessens, shops."
Elizabeth Hardwick, quoted in Romantic Geography
"When I first came to New York, if you were an artist you lived in Greenwich Village and you were a bohemian. That meant free. What did you do? You lived down there and you put on a beret. Wasn't that a uniform?"
Louise Nevelson, Particular Passions
"Unlike most cities on navigable water, New York faces inward toward Central Park and the mainland as much as it faces outward to the harbor and the rest of the world. This simultaneous facing inward and outward is true of its citizens as well."
Kenneth T. Jackson and David S. Dunbar, Empire City
"New York was like a great swimming-hole into which every day I dived, here, there, anywhere, and swam around for something or somebody worth getting."
Lincoln Steffens, The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens
"I have been having a great time while I've been out here in New York. You know, we've been seeing the sights. Just yesterday, we saw the River of Spit and we visited the Museum of Smells and, before I leave tomorrow, the Gallery of Broken Things."
Jake Johannsen, Comedy Central
"They say New York is a Twenty-Four-Hour Town. I suppose that's true, if by Twenty-Four-Hour Town they mean you can probably get a plate of eggs somewhere or wander bleeding into an emergency room for suturing. But in the wee, small hours, it can be a very quiet affair. It is not the round-the-clock party it purports to be."
David Rakoff, Don't Get Too Comfortable
"Everything Russian on Brighton Beach is too Russian, far more Russian than in real Russia. This is what happens all over Brooklyn. From the Scandinavians of Bay Ridge to the Chinese of Sunset Park, Brooklyn's immigrants go to ridiculous extremes to re-create their homelands only to end up with a vulgar pastiche."
Lara Vapnyar, Brooklyn Was Mine
"I like everything about New York. That heartbeat of the city, which sounds cliché but it's true. There's a rhythm in the city that forces you to get up and go whether you're having a good day or a bad day, and I've always respected that."
John Krasinski, New York Post
"This is how New York began. A willingness, and then a pause. An attitude, a confidence, and then this: cracked walls and huge bugs, your first cigarette, the taste of your own fear. Fear not for what might be in store but for what might not be, that your bravery, which looked so big in your hometown, would not amount to anything, that New York City would not deliver on its promise, for something grand and glamorous, unknown and unknowable."
Molly Prentiss, Tuesday Nights in 1980
"New York cannot help but stand as a special order: the place which is not wilderness, the place of light and warmth and the envelopment of the human swarm, the place in which everyone is awake and laughing at three in the morning."
Vincent McHugh, quoted in The Roosevelt Era
"The finest thing about New York City, I think, is that it is like one of those complicated Renaissance clocks where on one level an allegorical marionette pops out to mark the day of the week, on another a skeleton Death bangs the quarter hour with his scythe, and on the third the Twelve Apostles do a cakewalk. The variety of the sideshows distracts one's attention from the advance of the hour hand."
A.J. Liebling, The Best of A.J. Liebling
"New York presented a paradox. While foreigners thought of New York as the symbol of America, many Americans viewed the city with some suspicion as the country's most foreign."
Charles Emmerson, 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War
"There were very few scholarships to America available in Lilliput-Blefuscu, but she won one of them, and fell for New York at once, as did everybody who needed, and found here, a home away from home among other wanderers who needed exactly the same thing: a haven in which to spread their wings."
Salman Rushdie, Fury
"New York might as well be classified as a different world. Nothing is quite equal to the overall beautiful diversity the city possesses. Even the seasons' change cannot be matched to any other the world has seen."
Cristina Marrero, The River
"Everyone at one time or another tries to explain to himself why he likes New York better than anyplace else. A man who worked for me liked it because if he couldn't sleep he could go to an all-night movie. That's as good a reason as any."
John Steinbeck, America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction
"New York is the rainbow city. All the colors and the races of the world are here, all languages, religions, and dreams. Our triumph is plural, and throughout our history, the New York rainbow has drawn the adventurous and the brilliant, the mad, the brave, and the ambitious."
Pete Hamill, New York Magazine
"New York for me has always been like a highly neurotic, totally dysfunctional family member who is way too involved with my life. It drives me crazy, but I also love it and can't imagine living without it. "
Cristina Alger, This Was Not the Plan