Found a wonderful new site via Technology & Learning’s Site of the Day — the New York Times’ Literary Map of Manhattan. Starting at the top of the island, it has 99 entries of the addresses of imaginary New Yorkers, complete with a quote from the text. One, it serves as a wonderful display of the amazing hold on our imagination New York City has had for well over a hundred years. Two, it is a loving, romantic tribute to the city, somehow, and just looking at all the texts over so much time, mapped out onto the streets of the city made me really miss New York City today. And three, it’s just a really clever use of the technology to demonstrate the imaginary New York City, created by so many authors.

It also made me think about how incredible a "Literature of New York City" course would be. Jon Goldman, one of Beacon’s teachers, did a New York Stories senior English class a few years back, and the kids loved it. It’s one of the classes I wished I’d gotten the chance to teach.

Here’s just a few of the texts that I loved when I read them that the New York Times cited in their map… what a course they would make…

Ralph Ellison — Invisible Man
Langston Hughes — "Theme from English B"
Jonathan Lethem — Motherless Brooklyn
Saul Bellow — Seize the Day
Judy Bloom — Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (hey, I loved Judy Blume as a kid!)
J. D. Salinger — The Catcher in the Rye
Sylvia Plath — The Bell Jar
James Baldwin — Go Tell It on the Mountain
Kurt Vonnegut — Slapstick
Michael Chabon — The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Isaac Bashevis Singer — Enemies: A Love Story
Caleb Carr — The Alienist
Henry Roth — Call It Sleep
Jay McInerery — Bright Lights, Big City
Henry James — Washington Square

It really is a city like no other, and the literature of the city speaks to that. Thanks to the Times for putting together this very cool resource.