Special Sub-Topic: Literary Landmarks of New York
|Many of the sights of New York have inspired great poems. Hart Crane wrote a famous poem dedicated to which of the following New York landmarks?|
Brooklyn Bridge. Reacting to the general negativity of modern poetry, Crane wanted to create, in his words, "a mystical synthesis of America". He found the Brooklyn Bridge to be the perfect example of and subject for that synthesis.
|Tiffany's jewelry store was a setting for "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Who wrote it?|
Truman Capote. Capote's heroine, Holly Golightly, was desperate for acceptance and security. She was irresistibly drawn to this place, and for good reason: its thick, vault-like walls have the look of a fortress, while the baubles inside are more than pleasing to the eye.
|Just before his breakdown in "The Catcher in The Rye", to which Central Park location did Holden Caufield take his little sister, Phoebe?|
The Central Park Carousel. There has been a carousel in Central Park ever since 1871. The original one was powered by a mule and a blind horse that walked around in a circle beneath the ride. Later carousels were steam powered and then electrically powered. Unfortunately, the carousel that Holden sat before was destroyed by fire in 1950.
|New Yorkers Walt Whitman and Herman Melville were born in the same year (1819) and died one year apart (Whitman in 1892--Melville in 1891). That was about all they had in common. Whitman celebrated the growth of New York, while Melville despised its mercantilism. And yet, for completely opposite reasons, both were drawn to this New York location. Which one is it?|
The South Street Sea Port. While Melville saw the sea port as a means of escape, Whitman loved watching the immigrants, sailors and goods coming into Manhattan. He catalogued their comings and goings constantly.
|Throughout the 1920s, a circle of writers called themselves members of "The Round Table". The group included Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woolcott, Edna Ferber, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman and Heywood Broun, among others. Where did this group meet regularly?|
The Algonquin Hotel. Located in mid-Manhattan, the Algonquin is still a favorite meeting place and watering-hole for New Yorkers and tourists. As Alexander Wolcott would say, "Let me get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini."
|Henry James' relationship with New York was complex, to say the least. He was born here but ultimately rejected it--and America--to become a British citizen. However, New York was the setting for a few of his works. Which New York location did Henry James live near and feature prominently in one of his novels?|
Washington Square. As New York's population exploded during the early 19th century, real estate developers turned an old pauper's graveyard and gallows into an oasis, and named it after George Washington. James lived there, although his home had been demolished during his lifetime. However, the home of Dr. Sloper, the main character of his novel "Washington Square", still exists.
|The 1920s were known for many things but there was nothing quite like the literary and cultural explosion that took place in Harlem, known as the "Harlem Renaissance". Which of the following writers is closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance?|
Zora Neale Hurston. Florida-born Hurston moved to Gotham after college. Along with poet Langston Hughes, she created the literary magazine "Fire". Hurston is perhaps best known for her novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God."
|Born in a hotel room near Times Square, this American playwright is known for his gritty, realistic dramas. He is also the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Which playwright am I talking about?|
Eugene O'Neill. On the corner of Broadway and 43rd Street, where the hotel he was born in used to be, visitors will find a plaque commemorating O'Neill. Ironically, O'Neill died in a hotel room (in Boston). His last words were, "Born in a hotel room--and God damn it--died in a hotel room."
|Just about all of this playwright's dramas are set in New York. He wrote "Barefoot in the Park", "Brighton Beach Memoirs", "Plaza Suite" and "Broadway Bound"? Who is this playwright?|
Neil Simon. I left out "The Odd Couple", the great play that centers on two quintessentially neurotic New Yorkers. But that would have been a giveaway!
|I saved the hardest one for last: "A Visit from St. Nicholas", better known as "The Night Before Christmas", has been attributed to New Yorker, Clement Clarke Moore. Moore owned an enormous estate on the West Side of Manhattan, which is now an entire neighborhood. Which neighborhood was the former Clarke estate?|
Chelsea. The Chelsea neighborhood is on Manhattan's west side roughly from 14th to 34th Streets. Clarke's estate was so huge that the city could no longer grow around it. When railroad tracks were built through his property, he gave up and sold it. I told you this was tough.
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