A native Brooklynite-turned-suburban commuter deemed the quintessential New Yorker, Roz Chast has always been intensely alive to the glorious spectacle that is Manhattan–the daily clash of sidewalk racers and dawdlers; the fascinating range of dress codes; and the priceless, nutty outbursts of souls from all walks of life.
For Chast, adjusting to life outside the city was surreal–(you can own trees!? you have to drive!?)–but she recognized that the reverse was true for her kids. On trips into town, they would marvel at the strange visual world of Manhattan–its blackened sidewalk gum-wads, “those West Side Story-things” (fire escapes)–and its crazily honeycombed systems and grids.
Told through Chast’s singularly zany, laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons, Going Into Town is part New York stories (the “overheard and overseen” of the island borough), part personal and practical guide to walking, talking, renting, and venting–an irresistible, one-of-a-kind love letter to the city.
♪ New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
The lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York. ♪
I could not resist inserting lyrics from Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. (Or any songs about New York, for that matter. There’s a lot of songs about the beauty of New York.)
In Roz Chast’s new graphic memoir titled Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York, readers get an “illustrated ode/guide/thank-you note to Manhattan” all wrapped in one. It’s a love letter to the place she calls home and that offered her so many weird and wonderful sights, food, and people. You can really sense how much Roz adores her beautiful city.
Roz, a native of Brooklyn but moved into suburbia because of family reasons, initially created a New York guide booklet for her daughter when she left for college in Manhattan. The booklet has expanded into what is Going Into Town: A Love Letter To New York. This book is not an in-depth guide to Manhattan, and it shouldn’t be treated as one. It’s a discussion of the things that people—residents, commuters, tourists, wanderers—should know and observe. It’s appreciating New York and the awesome and weird things it has to offer.
In her own writing and cartoons, Roz points out all the beauties that Manhattan has to offer—food, buildings, weird specialized stores, wonderful parks, and so on. She gives observations and advice from her own experience of how to navigate Manhattan—the streets, the subway systems, and what to do.
Going Into Town: A Love Letter To New York makes me want to visit Manhattan tomorrow, and wander around the beautiful city where its always hustling and bustling with people, sounds, and lights.
Who will love this comic? Graphic memoir lovers! People who love and/or appreciate New York. Love for cartoons.