This image is the cover for the book Walking New York

Walking New York

Walk along with New York’s most celebrated writers on a tour of the city that inspired them in this “evolving portrait of New York through the centuries” (The New York Observer).


It’s no wonder that New York has always been a magnet city for writers. Manhattan is one of the most walkable cities in the world. But while many novelists, poets, and essayists have enjoyed long walks in New York, their experiences varied widely. Walking New York is a study of celebrated writers who walked the streets of New York and wrote about the city in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Though the writers were often irritated, disturbed, and occasionally shocked by what they saw on their walks, they were still fascinated by the city Cynthia Ozick called “faithfully inconstant, magnetic, man-made, unnatural—the synthetic sublime.” Returning to New York after an absence of two decades, Henry James loathed many things about “bristling” New York, while native New Yorker Walt Whitman both celebrated and criticized “Mannahatta” in his writings.

This idiosyncratic guidebook combines literary scholarship with urban studies to reveal how this crowded, dirty, noisy, and sometimes ugly city gave these “restless analysts” plenty of fodder for their craft. In Walking New York, you’ll see the city though the eyes of Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, William Dean Howells, Jacob Riis, Henry James, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, James Weldon Johnson, Alfred Kazin, Elizabeth Hardwick, Colson Whitehead, and Teju Cole.

Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller is a freelance writer and the author of five books, including Conversation: A History of a Declining Art. His articles on literary, political, and cultural questions have appeared in many journals in the United States and Great Britain, including the American Scholar, the Times Literary Supplement, Partisan Review, and Sewanee Review, among others. He has an M.A. in English from Yale and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Rutgers.

Fordham University Press