What are the must read books of 1970s NYC?
March 15, 2013 9:43 PM   Subscribe

I've got my nose buried in Bonfire of the Vanities and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning. What books should I read next? What are the must-reads from or about this era of New York City?
posted by johnnybeggs to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
Let the Great World Spin
posted by Violet Hour at 9:48 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Emma Who Saved My Life by Wilton Barnhardt
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:50 PM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living In New York by Gail Parent. I just love that book!
posted by SisterHavana at 10:01 PM on March 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Just Kids.
posted by Sara C. at 10:01 PM on March 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Lethem's Fortress Of Solitude
posted by PinkMoose at 10:05 PM on March 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, and it's an essay, but anyone who hasn't already read Luc Sante's My Lost City should take ten minutes and do so.

Aside from the high-intensity blocks of Midtown and the financial district, the place seemed to be inhabited principally by slouchers and loungers, loose-joints vendors and teenage hustlers, panhandlers and site-specific drunks, persons whose fleabags put them out on the street at eight and only permitted reentry at six. Many businesses seemed to remain open solely to give their owners shelter from the elements. [....] Outside under an awning on a hot afternoon would be a card table, textured like an old suitcase with four metal corners, and around it four guys playing dominoes. Maybe they’d have a little TV set, up on a milk crate, plugged into the base of a streetlight, issuing baseball. On every corner was a storefront that advertised Optimo or Te-Amo or Romeo y Julieta, and besides cigars they sold smut and soda pop and rubbers and candy and glassine envelopes and sometimes police equipment. And there were Donuts Muffins Snack Bar and Chinas Comidas and Hand Laundry and Cold Beer Grocery and Barber College, all old friends. Those places weren’t like commercial establishments, exactly, more like rooms in your house.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:23 PM on March 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Love Goes to Buildings on Fire by Will Hermes.
posted by plastic_animals at 11:05 PM on March 15, 2013


Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz.
posted by apparently at 4:07 AM on March 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you have any interest in the punk scene, I recommend Please Kill Me.
posted by Bron at 8:37 AM on March 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are you looking for books written in the 1970s about NYC? Or just books that deal with 1970s NYC? Lethem's Fortress of Solitude is quite good, but was written in 2000, I believe.
posted by dfriedman at 9:05 AM on March 16, 2013


In this thread from a couple of years ago, I recommended Tales of Times Square by Josh Alan Friedman.
posted by maurice at 9:51 AM on March 16, 2013


Serpico, perhaps, though it was written in the early 70s and covers the 60s as well.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:59 AM on March 16, 2013


Bonfire of the Vanities and Slaves of New York are very 1980s.

A Billion for Boris

Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries: 1971-1973
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:02 AM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the recommendations so far y'all!
Are you looking for books written in the 1970s about NYC? Or just books that deal with 1970s NYC?
Both, thanks!
In this thread from a couple of years ago, I recommended Tales of Times Square by Josh Alan Friedman.
Oh geeze, how did I miss this during my search? Great stuff in this thread too.
posted by johnnybeggs at 10:43 AM on March 16, 2013


Erica Jong's How to Save Your Own Life ( but read Fear of Flying first).
posted by brujita at 12:10 PM on March 16, 2013


If YA is all right: It's OK If You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:14 PM on March 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also Klein's Give Me One Good Reason and Love is One of the Choices.
posted by brujita at 2:44 PM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metropolitan Life by Fean Liebowitz.

Know to most as a cranky judge on Law And Order, Fran Liebowitz wrote this one book.

I had it in hardcover in the late seventies and it made me want to be an urban sophisticate, and so I did.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:20 PM on March 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love James Wolcott's magazine writing, so Lucking Out is on my to-read list.
posted by lalex at 1:27 PM on March 17, 2013


Does Spy Magazine count? It should! (More '80's than '70's, but still) and for that mater, Interview.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:50 AM on March 18, 2013


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