Max Reid works in Penguin Books Editorial, where he can be found talking at length about how much he loves New York.

 

 

 

 

ceremony

Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko

I first read Ceremony for a Native American Religion course my freshman year of college.  I expected bows and arrows and trips to the museum- I didn’t think for a second we might actually be talking about Native Americans today. Ceremony focuses on the loss of identity so many Native Americans have experienced in the 21st century, and shows better than anything else I’ve read that Native American culture is not just history.

 

 

 

we

We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin

As a citizen of the world I’m happy to report I had a healthy phase of dystopian fiction that sufficiently scared the hell out of me.  This one hits particularly hard – a nation built entirely of glass, allowing secret police to watch your every move. Yeah. 1984 and it’s many protégés find their way to most school reading lists, but if you haven’t read We, you’re missing out – Zamyatin was a dissident in the early Soviet Union, so he knows what he’s talking about.

 

 

 

chocolate

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl 

You’re not going to find a bigger fan of the Gene Wilder / Mel Stuart film adaptation, but really, if you haven’t read Roald Dahl’s masterpiece (one of many, in my opinion) you’re missing out on a trip through a world even more vibrant than Technicolor could offer. Try as you might, Tim Burton, but there’s just no replicating Roald Dahl’s imagination.

 

 

 

 

whitenoise

White Noise, by Don DeLillo

After 100 pages of living with the Gladney family, you’re part of it too, whether you like it or not.  DeLillo is sneaky about it – you may not even realize you love these characters until things start to unravel, as they always do.  DeLillo looks behind the façade of the modern American family, and finds the fears we all share.

 

 

 

 

different

On Being Different, by Merle Miller

Clocking in at 96 pages (that’s with the introduction and afterword), this is one of the most eye opening and powerful books I’ve read.  Merle recounts his experience growing up homosexual in a world that wasn’t welcoming, to say the least.  It’s heartbreaking, and unsettling that some of what he recounts was happening on a large scale only a few short decades ago.  I’d love to see this on more high school reading lists.

 

 

 

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photo

Alaina Mauro is Publishing Manager for the Adult imprints at Penguin Group. She is a well-known romance-phile, and has been known to discuss the literary merits of her favorite romances with pretty much anyone who will listen. She thanks the Penguin blog for giving her the opportunity to proselytize to a wider audience.

 

 

 

 

It Happened One Wedding

It Happened One Wedding, byJulie James

Julie James is my go-to for an absorbing, funny, contemporary romance novel. She’s always the first I recommend to friends interested in reading romance. Her novels are full of wonderfully drawn characters who feel like real people, and by the end, real friends. It Happened One Wedding is no exception, and the story of Vaughn Roberts, Special Agent, and Sidney Sinclair, investment banker, is engaging from their first funny coffee shop not-meet-cute, in which both decides the other is not for them. Circumstances draw them together, and their gradual friendship that turns into something more is delightful to read. This is one of those book’s that I like to have more than one copy of—one to keep, and one to loan—it’s that good.

 

Then Came You, by Jill ShalvisThen Came You

The fourth book in Jill Shalvis’s Animal Magnetism series is about veterinarians in rural Idaho. Dr. Emily Stevens is about to start a new internship far from her Los Angeles life at an animal clinic in rural Idaho, working for Drs. Dell and Adam Connelly. She has a plan. It involves spending the least amount of time in Idaho as possible to get a permanent position in LA, and marrying someone whose goals line up with hers. Not on the plan is Dr. Wyatt Stone, her new boss. She had a one-night stand with Wyatt months earlier at a veterinarian conference and expected to never see him again. Then Came You is a great contemporary romance about two people trying to reconcile life’s plans with life’s reality. Wyatt, in particular, is an excellent hero, and it was great to see him get his Happily Ever After. Though this is the fourth book in the series, it can easily be read without having read the others, but also, the others are great and you should totally read them!

Ravishing The HeiressRavishing the Heiress, by Sherry Thomas

Historical romance is my favorite romance subgenre, and Sherry Thomas is one of the best writing currently. Her stories are emotionally engaging in a way that is really rewarding for the reader. Ravishing the Heiress is the second book in a series set in Edwardian England about the Fizhugh siblings. It’s my favorite of the series and can be read without having read the others. It is that most-common historical trope, an arranged marriage, which starts with the main characters, Millicent and Fitzhugh, both having had their hearts broken with their true loves through circumstance, agreeing to marry each other, but that if either’s true love were to become available, to part ways with no hard feelings. When Fitz’s love, Isabelle returns to London, their agreement is put to the test. This story is one where the HEA is far from secure. Will Fitz end up with Isabelle? Will Millie find her own love? Has there been more between Fitz and Millie than either was willing to admit? Finding out, and the way the Thomas resolves these issues, is what make this book really stand out.

Secret lifeThe Secret Life of Violet Grant, by Beatriz Williams

Beatriz Williams writes engrossing novels with strong, well-drawn, female characters who don’t always act the way romantic heroines “should” and her books are all the better for it. The Secret Life of Violet Grant is set in 1914 Berlin and 1964 New York City, and follows Violet and Vivian Schuyler. Vivian has just graduated from Bryn Mawr and has defied her wealthy Manhattan family to get a job! And live on her own! And to actually do it successfully! The horror! She receives a parcel in the mail, a suitcase, which belonged to Violet. Violet is a hushed-up family secret, and Vivian becomes determined to find out what happened to her. The story is told from both Violet’s and Vivian’s point of view, and both women are smart, compelling characters. Of course, this wouldn’t be here if there weren’t two excellent heroes to help both women with their mysteries. Both romances are deliciously complicated, and the resolutions are extremely satisfying.

Romance Is My Day JobRomance is My Day Job, by Patience Bloom

Romance is My Day Job is actually a memoir by Patience Bloom, an editor at Harlequin. And yet, it is my favorite romantic story of the year. Patience, like some other people I know, grew up devouring romance novels, and expected that she too would find her hero, her happily ever after, her grand love. Then she moved to New York City, got her dream job at Harlequin editing romance, and…nothing happened. No hero, although many near-heroes. The book opens with a single, happy Patience in her early forties, living her life, when she receives an out-of-the-blue message from an old friend. All of a sudden it seems as if maybe her grand love might be a real possibility. Patience is an hilarious narrator, and anyone who has read and loved even one romance novel, will love her. Her actual romance is as compelling as any of the others here, if not more so, because it’s real.

Happy Reading!

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Alexis

Alexis works with books, and is a lover of the following, in no particular order: stories, believing in making a difference, London, San Francisco, New York City, traveling, banter, Converse, coffee, and Keds.

 

 

 

 

 

Like No Other

Like No Other, by Una LaMarche

Set in Crown Heights Brooklyn this is the story of a second generation West-Indie boy and a Hassidic girl who meet and fall in love when they are trapped in an elevator. It’s a modern, real, star-crossed lover story that is a bit West Side Story and a bit Romeo and Juliet but with less violence and a strong, thoughtful, female lead. With countless romances in literature painting the story of girls giving away their souls (cough-Twilight – cough), it’s nice to find a story that shows you how to stay true to your first love, and to yourself.

 

 

 

Inland

Inland, by Kat Rosenfield

With undertones of Siren Lore, a feisty female lead, and a story that leaves you wondering what exactly is real, what isn’t, and if something mystical exists, this is a summer read not to be missed. As soon as I opened this book I couldn’t put it down. Bring it to the beach and enjoy in the wet hot humidity where most of its story takes place. You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

 

Nightingale's Nest

Nightingale’s Nest, by Nikki Loftin

This book is something so special. Magical realism is the term everyone’s using. It’s a story that is told vividly, and has musical undertones. It deals with loss, self-discovery, class, and belonging through the story of a young man, a little girl, and the summer that changed everything. I can’t urge you enough to read this one. Just do it.

 

 

 

 

Fault in our stars

The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

Now, as a publishing professional, I secretly LOVE when books are made into movies, but, I always ALWAYS believe that a person should read the book first. It helps you make up your own mind and then approach the movie with a bit of intelligence, and, having had experienced the story without anyone else’s images clouding your imagination. Which is why I am recommending this book this month. If you haven’t read it, and if you are looking at trailers of the movie – DON’T GO UNTIL YOU READ IT. This story of love, life, and death should be experienced in your own head and heart first. Trust me.

 

 

Half Bad

Half Bad, by Sally Green

I always say this when people ask me about this book, but I mean it: this is not another witch book. This book is amazing. Told from the perspective of a young man (Nathan) who is a witch, born of an evil father (who just happens to be the world’s powerful and cruel Black witch) and of good mother. This is the beginning of a trilogy where we journey with Nathan as he tries to figure out where he belongs. It’s thrilling and set in modern day England. Read it quickly before the next one comes out!

 

 

 

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Sarah

Sarah is a Marketing Manager at Viking, specializing in nonfiction. She lives in the Bronx and is obsessed with sketch comedy.

 

 

 

 

Redeeming the Dream

Redeeming the Dream, by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson

Just over one year after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Proposition 8, the two lawyers who argued for the plaintiffs offer an insightful and riveting look inside the inner workings of the case. Theirs is an unlikely pairing—one conservative, the other liberal, they argued against each another in Bush v. Gore—but they were able to put aside their political differences and join forces to fight for what they believed in, which is hard not to get inspired by.

 

 

 

Careless People

Careless People, by Sarah Churchwell

This book achieves the trifecta of history, literature, and murder. By weaving together F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing of The Great Gatsby with the unfolding criminal investigation of the 1922 Hall-Mills murder, Churchwell looks for clues as how to how aspects of the case—which was a major ongoing news story that year—may have made their way into Gatsby. It also details the Fitzgeralds’ lives in Great Neck and the fascinating characters they hobnobbed with, from newspapermen to bootleggers to criminal bosses. We of course have no way of confirming if Churchwell’s suspicions are true, but it’s fun to think about regardless.

 

 

Blood Aces

Blood Aces, by Doug Swanson - On sale 8/14/14

This is the pulp-infused true story of Benny Binion, the Texas gangster and pioneering Las Vegas casino owner whose legacy can still be felt today (he founded the hugely successful World Series of Poker). As Dallas’s reigning mob boss, Binion could be brutal, yet he was fiercely protective of his family and philanthropic when it was to his advantage. Brimming with tales of the criminal underworld and Binion’s shrewd business practices, which often turned violent (he is quoted as having said “I ain’t never killed a man who didn’t deserve it”), this dark slice of Americana is compelling and vivid—you can almost smell the stale Camels and last night’s beer at Binion’s Horseshoe.

 

The Fires

The Fires, by Joe Flood

Counter to popular lore, this book argues that the majority of the fires ravaging parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan in the ‘70s were caused by a faulty computer model. In the ‘60s Mayor Lindsay teamed up with a think tank called the RAND Corporation to develop a way to govern the city more efficiently and statistically, starting with the fire department. But their methods were deeply flawed, resulting in severely reduced service in the neighborhoods that needed it desperately. It was an aspect of New York City history I hadn’t been aware of—and I’ve read a lot of books on New York City history. With so much of our current world moving to statistical analysis to predict just about everything from customer buying habits to election outcomes to the nation’s best burrito, this seems especially relevant.

Pictures Revolution

Pictures at a Revolution, by Mark Harris

If you’re anything like me, you love reading about the culture of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Pictures at a Revolution profiles the five movies that were nominated for Best Picture of 1967, offering not just the stories of the making of each individual film, but a broader picture of Hollywood in the ‘60s and the overall culture and atmosphere of the era. In a year that marked a real turning point for American movies, not to mention the culture at large, the five nominees represent both the new and the old, the generational divide sharply on display. The book offers some fascinating on-set stories and priceless trivia—who knew that at one point Bonnie and Clyde was to be directed by Jean-Luc Godard, who wanted to cast Elliott Gould as Clyde Barrow? (I actually kind of wish that had happened.)

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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Farin

Farin Schlussel works in the marketing department at Gotham Books and Avery, where she has encountered map thieves, scientists, strong librarians, delicious recipes, and lots of dog and cat photos. When she’s not hanging out at her local library, where everyone greets her like Norm from Cheers, she enjoys seeing Broadway shows, watching British TV, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and catering to the whims of her mischievous cocker spaniel.

 

 

The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife

The Coconut Oil Miracle, 5th Edition, by Bruce Fife

My favorite thing about The Coconut Oil Miracle is that it takes this “it” ingredient beyond the kitchen. For example, did you know that coconut oil also makes a great insect repellent, sunburn treatment, and diaper cream? Or that it promotes healthy skin and hair? Yes, there is so much more to coconut oil than Zico Water.

 

 

 

 

Budget Bytes by Beth Moncel

Budget Bytes, by Beth Moncel

How do I love thee, Budget Bytes? Let me count the ways… Actually, there are too many to count, but to narrow it down: every recipe I’ve made, be it from the book or the blog, has been super easy and absolutely delicious, and, yes, inexpensive. However, my favorite thing about the book is not the extra money in my pocket; thanks to Beth’s nutritionist background, all the dishes contain fresh ingredients, so I feel good about what I make, even if I do sometimes eat it straight out of the pot. Budget Bytes is a staple in my kitchen and should definitely be one in yours!

 

 

Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons

Success Through Stillness, by Russell Simmons

I’m a born and bred New Yorker with a gold medal in power walking, so it’s pretty difficult for me to slow down. Luckily, there’s hip hop mogul and master entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who, with the nickname Uncle Rush, is crafted from the same mold, but who found stillness and success through meditation. His new (and New York Times bestselling) book shows how meditation can lead to success and outlines different methods of meditation so you can find the one that’s right for you. I’m a big fan of chair meditation, which can be done pretty much anywhere.

 

 

The Willpower Instinct by Kelly Mcgonigal

The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal

Let’s be honest, we all want to exercise a little more willpower in some area of our lives. In The Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal gives the reader all the tools to achieve that goal and also shows why willpower is important. I particularly like that Kelly doesn’t advise going cold turkey when giving up a habit, but to take it in small steps instead. I also like that she tells it like it is; when she spoke at the Random House Open House in November, she very bluntly stated that just saying you want to change is not enough, you have to really mean it and take action. (On a completely unrelated note, not only is Kelly smart, she’s also a theatre nut like me, which raises her level of cool exponentially.)

 

Operation Beautiful by Caitlin Boyle

Operation Beautiful, by Caitlin Boyle

Every time I think about this book, I break out in a huge grin. I love the idea of women empowering other women by leaving post-it notes emblazoned with words of encouragement like YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL in the places that tend to affect our self-esteem the most – bathroom mirrors, gym lockers, etc. Body image is so skewed in our society, and the messages in this book are so inspiring.

 

 

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Danielle

Danielle Stockley is an Associate Editor at Ace and Roc Books. You can find her opinions about books and science and stuff on Twitter @D_Stockley.

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden City, by J. Kathleen Cheney

The Golden City, by J. Kathleen Cheney

If you like historical mysteries, if you like romantic fantasy, even if you just like rich, detailed storytelling, then check out The Golden City. Set in Portugal at the turn of the last century, it tells the story of Oriana Paredes, a siren and spy living in a country that has banned her people from setting foot on its shores. Her search to find a murderer will set Oriana in the path of police consultant Duilio Ferreira, a man whose family is hiding a secret of its own. Find out why Library Journal named this one of the best five science fiction/fantasy books of 2013.

 

 

 

The Grim Company by Luke Scull

The Grim Company, by Luke Scull

The Grim Company manages the neat trick of dropping a group of mostly despicable stock fantasy characters into the middle of a war where entire city populations are merely collateral damage, with the end result being a lot of fun. As well as copious amounts of gore. Author Luke Scull isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. Instead, he takes all the wheel’s best features (So round! What spokes!)  and then pushes said wheel downhill at breakneck speed directly toward a cliff.

 

 

 

Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds

Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds

The universe is big. Really, really big. And also very old. No one does a better job if instilling these facts in a reader than Alastair Reynolds in Revelation Space.  Imagine investigating a culture that disappeared 900,000 years in the past, or trying to coordinate a mission when your most recent information is thirty years old and it will take you another sixty to travel to your ultimate destination. Then also imagine some amazingly cool weapons systems and a menacing threat to all humanity and you’ve got this first book of Reynolds’ Revelation Space series. Fun fact: while you and I have frittered away our lives, Mr. Reynolds found the time to become an author and an astrophysicist.

 

The Necromancer’s House, by Christopher Buehlman

The Necromancer’s House, by Christopher Buehlman

If I told you that The Necromancer’s House was about a wizard living in modern-day New York you might stop me and say you’ve heard this sort of thing before. But you haven’t. Andrew may be a wizard, but he’s also a recovering alcoholic hamstrung by his own vanity, and he lives in New York, upstate, where life is relatively quiet. Usually. But something Andrew did in the past is working its way back toward him and the people he cares about, one extremely violent act at a time.  This is a story about deeply flawed people that features a truly unique magic system and owes as much to horror as it does to contemporary fantasy. Fans of both should enjoy it.

 

 

Blood Oranges by Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney

Blood Oranges, by Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney

Utterly profane, unflinchingly honest, and undeniably funny are how I would best describe this sardonic twist on urban fantasy.  Don’t-you-dare-ever-call-me-Siobhan Quinn was just your average street junky until the day she was bitten by a werewolf and a vampire in the same night. Now the doubly-gifted (or twice-damned) Quinn is trying to track down who set her up. If only she could stop eating the suspects. Expect to be offended and entertained in equal measures

 

 

 

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Laura

Laura Perciasepe is an Editor at Riverhead Books. She acquires and edits a wide range of literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, and works in translation. Originally from Baltimore, she now lives in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid

I cried at the end of this book so you know it’s good. This is Gatsby-ish in its scope; the tale of a young impoverished boy in an unnamed Asian city, on the rise, of course. There’s a love story, a story of success and failure, a family story, all bound up in this remarkable journey, both intimate and universal. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s short yet packs an unbelievable punch.

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Things Falling, by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

The Sound of Things Falling, by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

I know this word is over-used in describing good books, but this book is truly stunning. A work in translation that has won accolades across the globe, this novel begins with a hippo escaped from a Colombian drug lord’s derelict zoo and doesn’t let up from there. It’s a page turner, a monumental story of politics and family, love and violence.

 

 

 

 

Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby

Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby

I love all of Nick Hornby’s books but this recent one has a special place in my heart. It’s classic Hornby, full of complicated relationships, humor, sweetness and sadness, and music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

This is the book I’ll be recommending all summer and I only regret that I read it myself before beach season! Emma Straub takes us on a trip to Mallorjca with a New York family that feels very familiar in its dysfunctions and in its bonds. It’s a keenly observed story with heart (that also looks great on your Instagram with its vibrant cover).

 

 

 

 

Margot, by Jillian Cantor

Margot, by Jillian Cantor

This is a what-if story about Anne Frank’s sister Margot, if she had escaped the war and come to America, living here in the 1950s as her sister became a cultural icon of hope. A psychologically sophisticated novel about sisters, memory, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive – this book became a house favorite at Penguin and it’s un-put-downable (that’s a real book publishing term, promise!).

 

 

 

 

The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano

The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano

This is another book in translation that I couldn’t recommend more – a completely unique voice and love story that transfixed me when I read it and has stayed with me long after. It’s about two Italian teenage misfits, the mathematics of humanity, recovery from trauma, and love.

 

 

 

 

 

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I Never Knew That About New York, By Christopher WinnThe key to writing a book such as I Never Knew That About New York is how to order things – where do I begin, how should I divide the chapters, should the narrative be historical or geographical? What route should I take so as not to miss anything?

With New York it was easy. I could arrive via the Upper Bay, just as the first European settlers did, and begin where New York began – at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. And history and geography march together in New York – northwards along Broadway. New York was founded as New Amsterdam in 1625, with a fort erected where the Customs House now stands. Broadway was already there, an Indian trail running the length of the island which naturally formed New Amsterdam’s main street or ‘Broad Way’. As the city grew and developed it could only expand northwards along Broadway, with new areas filling out to east and west. Each stretch of Broadway and each new neighborhood has its own story and its own atmosphere and its own chapter.

Although I started out thinking to write about all five boroughs of Greater New York, I soon realized this was unrealistic when I found I had written half a book before even reaching Bowling Green. And so I decided to concentrate on Manhattan Island only – no easy decision since there is so much of interest in the other boroughs – I must return and write their story one day soon.

And although it was fascinating and exciting to peer behind the facades of the iconic, film-set locations such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Great Lawn in Central Park, Bloomingdales, etc, there was a special pleasure for me in discovering the hidden, unknown aspects of New York – becoming more than just a tourist.

The world sees New York as relentlessly modern, a city of skyscrapers – it has more of them than any other city in the world except Hong Kong – many of them glorious, like the Flatiron, which gets lovelier each time I see it, the Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building.

And yet, tucked away in the shadow of these soaring towers are some startling and lesser known beauties, thrilling glimpses of the past. Magnificent 18th-century buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1835, including the very first house you see (but probably don’t notice) when disembarking from the Staten Island Ferry, the James Watson House (1799), built for a rich merchant who wanted a waterfront home from where to keep an eye on his ships in the harbor, and Fraunces Tavern (1719), where George Washington said goodbye to his victorious officers in 1783.

Enjoying an evening meal amongst the converted 19th-century warehouses of Stone Street was an unexpected treat. And a little further up Broadway there is St Paul’s Chapel (1764), where George Washington and the future King William IV both worshipped – and which also served as the rescue headquarters for a very modern disaster, September 9, 2001.

Perhaps the most surprising 18th-century house I came across was Gracie Mansion (1799), since 1942 the official residence of the Mayor of New York, although some mayors have refused to live there as there are strict rules governing who stays overnight! It lies right at the far end of East 89th Street, a tiny oasis of gracious 18th-century living embowered in trees and sandwiched between the dark, looming 20th-century towers of the Upper East Side and the choppy East River as it flows towards Hell Gate.

Then there is the Federal style Hamilton Grange, built in 1802 as a country retreat for founding father Alexander Hamilton and now marooned on the side of a hill having been ignominiously moved around because it was in the way, and the magnificent, classical Morris-Jumel Mansion of 1765, set on its own hill, where in 1790 the first three US Presidents all sat down to dinner together.

And the modest Dyckman Farmhouse, filled with simple furniture and redolent of the time when the north of Manhattan Island was all farmland, acting as gatekeeper above Broadway just before the bridge to the mainland – I don’t think I ever really believed that Manhattan was actually an island until I gazed across the Harlem River to the cliffs of the Bronx from Inwood Park.

There are so many happy memories of the everyday New York that only New Yorkers know. The uncrowded lawns and hills of north Central Park so calm and spacious with the lovely Conservatory Gardens and serene Harlem Meer, the breezy heights of the West Side with sinuous Riverside Park, sweeping views across the majestic Hudson, the Little Red Lighthouse set by the water beneath the huge George Washington Bridge – busiest bridge in the world.

Sitting with an American beer in my favourite New York bar, the Ceile just off Bennett Park, Manhattan Island’s highest natural point, enjoying the buzz and the bargains of Harlem’s colourful markets, climbing up from the Polo Grounds on the John T. Brush staircase where once you could watch the New York Giants for free, eating a burger from Shake Shack in Madison Square Gardens, riding the Roosevelt Island Tramway, with its unique views of downtown, the Staten Island Ferry – greatest free ride in the world.

Enjoying a drink above the treetops of Central Park in the Met’s hidden rooftop Sculpture Garden, walking the High Line, taking the No 4 bus from the Cloisters to downtown – best bus ride in Manhattan – watching the red kites in Washington Square Park, renting a top floor apartment near Union Square up six flights of steps and no lift – just like Barefoot in the Park.

There really is nowhere quite like New York…