Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York

Da Capo Press  2011

In Heart of the City, Ariel Sabar explores nine real-life urban romances, each set against the backdrop of an iconic New York City public space, e.g. Central Park, Times Square, the Empire State Building. The stories span sixty years, from the Second World War to the present. The characters represent a broad economic and social spectrum—an immigrant woman from the Philippines, upwardly mobile twenty- somethings, a young sailor, and a destitute runaway. Updates of their lives are provided in a series of postscripts at the end of the book.

To find his couples, Sabar pored through decades of wedding announcements, social network sites and online news databases, and spoke with rabbis, priests, and wedding planners.

In a thoughtful and comprehensive introduction, Sabar discusses our expanding awareness of the importance of place in how and whether people find one another, including the concept of public space, advances in brain science, and the evolving field of environmental psychology.

Ariel Sabar’s first book, My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq, won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. He currently lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches creative writing at The George Washington University.

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