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One of the first Europeans to explore the NYC area was Giovanni da
Verrazzano, who traveled up and down New York Bay in 1524, looking for
a way to get to Asia. (Fail.) Along the way he encountered locals—the
Lenape tribe—and discovered what he assumed to be a massive lake, but
which was in fact the Hudson River.
Almost 500 years later, we’ve built up the island of Manhattan,
renamed it, seized it back from the British when they made it past
George Washington’s Continental Army, erected skyscrapers, and (most
relevant to our purposes:) seen several generations of great writers
spurred to action by the city environs.
Above is a reading syllabus for those who currently live in New York
or ever wanted to. Start at the top and work your way down to find
your next book.