“Rebecca Rose felt about Park Slope the same way she felt about her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Abbie: basic unconditional love mixed with frequent spurts of uncontrollable rage.” Amy Sohn, Prospect Park West.

“I’m here because I was born here and thus ruined for anywhere else, but I don’t know about you.”  Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York.

“Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened.” Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible.

“At the start of the twentieth century, death by electricity was a relatively recent form of capital punishment.” Harold Schechter, The Devil’s Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial that Ushered in the Twentieth Century.

“The play—for which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in crêpe paper—was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.” Ian McEwan, Atonement.

“Shortly after midnight on July 18, the great bell high in the campanile of the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 115th Street announced to East Harlem that the day of festa had begun.” Robert A. Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950.

“When Gregor Samsa awoke from troubled dreams one morning, he found that he had been transformed in his bed into an enormous bug.” Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis.

“After graduating college, I worked downtown in the immense shadows of the World Trade Center, and as part of my freewheeling, four-hour daily lunch break I would eat and drink my way past these two giants, up Broadway, down Fulton Street, and over to the Strand Book Annex.” Gary Shteyngart, Little Failure: A Memoir.

“I had the story, bit by bit, from various people and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.” Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome.

“Once upon a time, the Flatiron Building was a member of my family.” Alice Sparberg Alexiou, The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City that Arose with It.

“It is a little remarkable that—although disinclined to talk overmuch of myself and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends—an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public.” Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

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