Natalie Standiford is the author of Astrid Sees All, which was selected as an Indie Next Pick by independent booksellers. She lives in New York City with her husband and two cats. Visit her at nataliestandiford.com.
I’ve lived in New York City since 1983. When I first arrived, I wandered around in an excited daze, thinking, I can’t believe I actually live here, and sometimes I still feel that way, even though the city has changed a lot. Astrid Sees All follows a young woman seeking thrills in the bohemian New York of the 1980s, and while writing it I enjoyed revisiting—if only in my imagination—the wild, tumultuous East Village I used to know. The city changes constantly, yet it never loses its essential New Yorkiness, the magic that draws adventurous newcomers year after year. What is the nature of that magic? Here are nine books set in the city—one for each of the last nine decades—that hint at the answer.