New York City in books, music and art
Megan Bradbury's debut novel Everyone Is Watching is a love letter to New York, told through the experiences of four of the city’s greatest creators, artists and thinkers.
Here Megan shares the music, art, film and poetry that, for her, define the city.
Album - Patti Smith's ‘Horses’
For me, this album perfectly captures New York’s energy. It’s young, vibrant, and makes you want to dance. It gets the blood flowing. It is exciting.
Song - Lou Reed's ‘Halloween Parade’
Lou Reed is the ultimate New York storyteller and he describes friendship, love and loss with tenderness and clarity. This song is particularly touching, a memorial to his friends who died of AIDS. It makes me think about how New York City is a place where people come to find themselves but also each other, and of the communities that are formed from this.
Fiction - Don Delillo's Underworld
Layered, complex, beautiful and enormous, the book is like the city itself. Its grand themes are described with poetic detail. The thematic and dramatic connections between its many parts form a landscape, which, like a city, the reader inhabits.
Non-fiction - Robert A. Caro's The Power Broker
This biography of Robert Moses is a thrilling insight into the man who built New York. Like Underworld, it is a tome that reads like a thriller, and it is a must-read for anyone who wants to know how New York was built physically.
Poem - Walt Whitman's ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’
Walt Whitman – like the city, this poem is exuberant, jubilant, celebratory and lusty.
Read the poem here
Visual Art - Alvin Baltrop's ‘Piers’
These are a series of photographs depicting New York’s dilapidated west side piers during the city’s economic hardships of the 1970s and 80s. They show how New York is a city of connections made through fleeting moments of looking and touching. These photographs are windows into an array of New York moments - physical pleasure and companionship but also violence and loneliness. Baltrop sees and captures the city. The photographs contain hardships but also love and beauty.
Podcast - The Bowery Boys
This podcast sustained me throughout the many years of writing my novel – lively, entertaining discussions about New York topics by the ultimate New York enthusiasts.
Film - Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’
A luscious, romantic black and white homage to New York, which opens with a panoramic tour of its skyline and streets accompanied by George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. My favourite part is the penultimate scene where the camera follows Woody Allen’s character as he runs down a street, picking up in the reflections of the windows of the parked cars flashes of the buildings on the opposite side of the street – in this movie the city is described in every scene; the city surrounds you.
Everyone is Watching
Everyone is Watching is a novel about the men and women who have defined New York. Through the lives and perspectives of these great creators, artists and thinkers, and through other iconic works of art that capture its essence, New York itself solidifies.
Read chapter one
Watch Megan reading from Everyone Is Watching