Literary Landmarks: Visit Our Favorite NYC Spots From Caroline Kepnes’s YOU

August 29 2019
Share Literary Landmarks: Visit Our Favorite NYC Spots From Caroline Kepnes’s YOU

Back in the day, when I was living in a small Massachusetts town, I used books (as most kids do) to escape the space I found myself in. Within the pages of my favorite novels, I could find myself anywhere. One day in Hogwarts, the next in Bed-Stuy, I discovered the transformational power of books to experience new places is the most liberating and empowering part of being a literary person. I think that’s when I first fell in love with New York City. It was only 200 miles away but to a kid who lived in a town that didn’t have a high school, NYC was pretty much otherworldly.

Once I moved here, the fascination didn’t end. There are still subway lines I haven’t used, neighborhoods I haven’t explored, and so many amazing bars and restaurants I can’t afford to eat in (yet). And as my fascination grew I became even more obsessed over New York-based literature, collecting New York novels and jotting down all the places I wanted to find myself. Whether stalking the streets of Lower Manhattan with Joe Goldberg in YOU or exploring the shipyards of MANHATTAN BEACH,New York novels throughout time all have an adventure-like quality, begging you to join. 

And so without further ado, welcome to the start of Off the Shelf’s Literary Landmarks! I’ve compiled some of my favorite New York stories and made maps for you to follow along the adventure! With each location, you can read book quotes from where these characters experienced this incredible city.

My first map is for one of my all-time favorite New York thrillers—YOU by Caroline Kepnes. Trace the steps of Joe and Beck by exploring the map below.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from some of the locations from the book, hot off the mean streets of NYC!

Corner Bistro

“We’ve had Corner Bistro burgers and fries and the vodka and the whiskey and I let you steer the conversation. You did tell me about Benji, ‘My druggie ex, I push him away but he always comes back.’”

Bank Street

“The next thing the Internet gave me was your address. Fifty-One Bank Street. . . . This isn’t a frenzied Midtown block where harried worker bees storm to and from the office. This is tony, sleepy, ridiculously safe and expensive West Village real estate. I can’t just hang out on your block . . . ”

Columbus Circle

“The cab sails uptown and we’re there faster than I thought possible and this time, I get out of the cab first. And this time, I run around to your side of the car and open the door for you. I offer my hand. You take it. The cabbie checks you out. I tip him. And before you know it, you and I are side by side in the horse-drawn carriage, nestled like lovebirds.”
Caroline Kepnes

Joe doesn’t like artisanal soda, trust fund kids, Dan Brown, Brooklyn hipsters, or Vice magazine. He does, however, like you, ever since you walked into his East Village bookshop looking like Natalie Portman. Shame that Joe is a cold-blooded killer and adept stalker. In the all-too-rare second-person narrative, YOU takes place inside the obsessed brain of Joe Goldberg, who’ll stop at nothing to make boho-wannabe Guinevere Beck (the “you” of Kepnes’s page-turning novel) his.

Crazy like: The lovesick and the just-plain-sick.

Best crazy moment: The DA VINCI CODE reading marathon.

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