Oh, Holden Caulfield, don’t ever change. The young and disaffected narrator of The Catcher in the Rye wanders to a number of recognizable New York City places in his escape from the phonies at Pencey Prep, but perhaps none of them have changed as little over the years as the Museum of Natural History. “They were always showing Columbus discovering America, having one helluva time getting old Ferdinand and Isabella to lend him the dough to buy ships with, and then the sailors mutinying on him and all.” The lower reaches of the museum are probably lousy with some of the same artifacts that were collecting dust in Holden’s time; the “fuck you” graffiti he encounters might just still be visible.
Great authors don’t just paint a picture of New York attractions: They have a way of making city sights burrow under your skin and remain there for life. Some of the most beautiful NYC buildings, best museums and most gorgeous NYC parks have all appeared in literature about Gotham. But since the metropolis is always changing, many favorite New York places depicted in novels will have been demolished and replaced by the time you’re ready to finally visit. Thankfully, readers’ starry-eyed expectations won’t be let down by these iconic (and not so iconic) literary landmarks from some of the best books about New York.