A City Without its Section

This week, the New York Observer took an extensive look at the soon-to-be-closed City Section of the New York Times. Prominently featured was the section’s final editor, Constance Rosenblum, author of two NYU Press books: Boulevard of Dreams and New York Stories.

Ms. Rosenblum, whose book about the Bronx’s Grand Concourse, Boulevard of Dreams, will be coming out in August, told readers of the NYTimes.com’s Talk to the Newsroom what she looked for in 2008: “[W]e ask our writers and ourselves to use eyes and ears, to walk the streets of individual neighborhoods and see firsthand what’s out there. This approach can yield rich rewards.”

The result is pieces like this week’s “Plot Twist at the Actors’ Temple” or “The Trouble With Trees”. It may also explain why writers find themselves mourning the loss of the section. One of them, Thomas Pryor, will be hosting a “toast” to the section on May 4 at the bar 17: It’s hard to imagine a similar event in honor of, say, Escapes, which is also being folded into the larger Times.

“Where are we gonna find those pieces—those neighborhood pieces?” Mr. Hajdu wondered. “I’m not inclined to over-romanticize or glorify the mundane, but what you’d find there in unexpected quarters of the City were wonderful surprises.”

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