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

  • Review
By – August 30, 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.
Judith Felsen­feld book of short fic­tion, Blaustein’s Kiss, was pub­lished in April, 2014. Her sto­ries have appeared in numer­ous mag­a­zines and lit­er­ary reviews, includ­ing The Chica­go Review, The South­west Review, Blue Mesa, and broad­cast nation­wide on NPR’s Select­ed Shorts.

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