In the new anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, contributors share the experience of moving to New York in pursuit of the writing life. In essay after essay, writers describe their experiences moving to New York from Long Island, New Jersey, California, and overseas. Anyone from anywhere can come to New York City in pursuit of fame, riches, and romance, and as a result, Goodbye to All That captures New York’s uniquely nuanced, overlapping landscape of cultures and geographies that for millions feels at once deeply personal and communal.
But while something deeper also reveals itself in the pages: Some thread of pure accident runs through the story of each writer’s dream of making it in the big city.
Goodbye to All That features several familiar names from the Manhattan and (mostly) Brooklyn literary community, including editor Sari Botton and several other 20- and 30-something women writers. Through a series of emails, I asked Sari and contributors Cheryl Strayed, Melissa Febos, and Mira Ptacin about the differences and similarities between their experiences in the city of so many of our dreams.
Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim speaking to Terry Gross in 2010:
I’m interested in the theater because I’m interested in communication with audiences, otherwise I would be in concert music. I’d be in another kind of profession. I love the theater as much as music, and the whole idea of getting across to an audience and making them laugh, making them cry — just making them feel — is paramount to me.
image of the Stephen Sondheim theater in NYC via VIP tickets
Noomi Rapace by Olaf Blecker for The New York Times Magazine (2012)
"We didn’t know till the day of the shoot, however, that she [Noomi] has the lung capacity of a mermaid. She was able to stay submerged for what seemed like minutes at a time, and she managed to hold her breath in such a way that her face didn’t become distorted; her eyes were open, but did not bulge; her lips were slightly parted, but expelled no bubbles. She smiled, she laughed, she looked angry, contemplative, melancholy. Frankly, it was downright eerie." -New York Times Magazine