At the Heart of a City

Received a wonderful gift yesterday in the mail,  Heart of the City by Ariel Sabar.  What is most wonderful about it is that if I read only the introduction  (I won't, I'll read the whole thing), it will be enough to make the entire book worthwhile.

Working under the principles of environmental psychology author Ariel Sabar shares nine different love stories that begin and sometimes center around the city of New York.  But he starts with an essay that tells how he became interested and what he looked into before compiling the case studies that make up the rest of the book. 

Relating his own parents' love story, he notes that if his mother had not stepped into Washington Park, their romance might never have started:

from the Introduction to Heart of the City
Ariel Sabar

"So wait a second," I said, turning to my father. "You mean if she'd never gone into the park, you wouldn't have tried to talk to her?"

"Correct." The streets were too exposed, he said. Attractive as she was, it would have felt improper to strike up a conversation there. The park, though, was different.

I scratched my head.  But how?

It was, he said, like stepping into a village. The park shrank the city. It slowed time. With its roving paths, its fountain and trees, it filtered away the facelessness and noise of the street. Once inside, he said, people ceased being strangers. For a fleeting moment, they were on common ground. The were sharing something: not just the leaves and grass and water, but the human carnival.

It is for such observations as these that I will continue through the book.  I'm fascinated by the subject of how environment affects people, and what better reading for around Valentine's Day.

Note: This book came as an unsolicitied gift of Da Capo Press, and I am very grateful--thank you.


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