Roz Chast would like to introduce you to her most fascinating friend. But first, let her get you up to speed so you won’t embarrass yourself. The friend in question—New York City—may not seem so welcoming if you don’t know what those “West Side Story things” are (fire escapes) or that 25 West 43rd Street is an entirely different place than 25 East 43rd Street. So that you may be worthy of making acquaintance with her beloved hometown, veteran New Yorker cartoonist Chast offers a wry and entertaining guide that also conveys the actual information you need on your first visit to Manhattan.
Illustrated with Chast’s energetic, sketchy cartoons and occasional family photographs, Going into Town began as a tutorial for her suburb-raised daughter as she headed off to college with little idea of what a “block” was, let alone how to navigate the city’s subway system. Chast expanded it to include guidebook staples—how to find food, housing and entertainment—presented with a slightly twisted, New York sense of humor. Here you’ll learn practical things, like how the city’s grid of streets and avenues work, and gain insider knowledge, like why it’s wise to avoid boarding empty subway cars, no matter how invitingly spacious they seem. (Hint: That smell may be the least of your worries.)
Fans of Chast’s bestselling memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, will recognize and enjoy the unique blend of affection and sarcasm that Chast brings to her work while getting to know one of the world’s most famous cities.