(01/24) – The Day After

 Today’s ADVICE > SUNDAY / JAN. 24, 2016

The January Blizzard has departed. After all the shovelling, rest up and read a good book, maybe a book about NYCity. (Selected Events will return on Monday).

The 100 Books Every New Yorker Should Read
by Kristin Iversen, Brooklyn Magazine
today’s picks:

21. Wonderstruck / by Brian Selznick
This flat-out magical book is told from two different perspectives and depicts two, decades-apart versions of New York which wind up colliding in a beautifully unexpected manner. Along the way, Selznick affords readers an intimate, seemingly behind-the-scenes look at New York institutions ranging from the American Museum of Natural History, the city panorama at the Queens Museum of Art, and a lovely, if apocryphal independent bookstore.

23. The Group / by Mary McCarthy
Any book that was banned in Australia is alright with me, but The Group is especially alright because it is full of strong women and strong politics and strong sexuality and while it is set in the 1930s and was written in the 1960s, it feels pretty damned relevant to the 2010s. if you ask me. Besides, who doesn’t want yet another reminder that women have been looking for ways to subvert the patriarchy throughout history?

25. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York / by Robert Caro
Hey, ever wonder why Red Hook is so isolated from the rest of South Brooklyn? Or why there’s a big old highway breaking one part of Williamsburg apart from the other? Ever just stop and think about why New York is so car-friendly at all? Stop racking your brain and pick up Caro’s masterwork about one of the most powerful—and powerfully reviled—figures in this city’s long, complicated history.

26. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay / by Michael Chabon
An adventure-filled narrative loosely based on the real life-stories of many of the creators of comic book creators like Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and is filled with cameos by historical figures including former New York governor Al Smith and artist Salvador Dali, Kavalier and Klay depicts a fascinating time of New York history and is a testament to the ingenuity of this city’s (and country’s) immigrant communities.

27. Brooklyn Is: Southeast of the Island: A Travel Guide / by James Agee
Agee’s meditation on Brooklyn remains one of the most beautifully rendered depiction of this—or any—part of the city we like to call home. Last year, we wrote extensively about this work, calling it “a lyrical, wandering essay of observational prose” and we can’t recommend highly enough that you spend some time with this slim volume, and fall in love all over again with Brooklyn.

28. The Chosen / by Chaim Potok
Potok takes us deep into a community that remains closed off and mysterious to so many of us, despite its very visible presence on the streets of this city. Via the perspectives of Reuven Malter and Daniel Saunders, the reader gets a chance to experience the inscrutable world of ultra-orthodox Judaism.

29. Sophie’s Choice / by William Styron
The part of this novel that everyone remembers tends to be the one that occurs far from New York City, and yet it is the city-based parts of the book that are the most compellingly rendered, I think. Styron is never better than when he depicts what it’s like to be a struggling, frustrated young writer who is forced to live in deep Brooklyn due to rent considerations and finds himself sexually thwarted at every turn until he—suddenly, gloriously, disastrously—isn’t.

30. Up in the Old Hotel / by Joseph Mitchell
Initially published in The New Yorker, Mitchell’s collection of essays are wonderfully rendered depictions of classic New York characters—saloon-keeps, sailors, Native American construction workers, street-preachers—all of whom will be welcome additions into your life as they were into the lives of old New Yorkers.

If your interests lead you to Brooklyn, then be sure to peruse Brooklyn Magazine. It’s a high quality, high info, smart monthly.

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When the weather allows, don’t forget Picasso at MoMA:

A Last-Minute Guide to ‘Picasso Sculpture’ at MoMA
By ROBERTA SMITH – NYT, JAN. 15, 2016

This “once-in-a-lifetime” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art brings together more than 100 Picasso works, including many never seen in the United States. If you can see it before it closes on Feb. 7, here are a few themes to look for. (You can read Roberta Smith’s full review here.)

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This week’s fave and FREE NYCity AppS: 

Trip Advisor
An enormous base of NYCity user reviews (2.1 million) provides the widest coverage of hotels (468), restaurants (12,645) and things to do (yes, 3,246). Have a specific question? Then try one of Trip Advisor’s forums. Just remember that with all those reviews you have to try to find the consistency among the comments, and ignore the outliers.

OpenTable
Instantly locate restaurants near you with open reservations and then place a reservation right from your iOS device. A great interface and the ability to see a menu from the restaurant you’re interested in makes this my go to restaurant reservation app.

Subway Time 
Need to catch your #1,2,3 subway to attend an event? Use the Subway Time app from the MTA to find out when the next train arrives at your station.

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