New York in the 1960s featured the Upper West Side as a diverse community, with free July Fourth fireworks, elite performances at Lincoln Center, and reasonably priced apartments and restaurants, albeit tainted by crime that inspired one Saul Bellow character to compare the neighborhood with Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jump forward to the new millennium. While gentrification rendered those same streets safe, it also made housing too expensive for the working class and replaced dozens of pizza and barbecue favorites with fancy eateries and more sources of high-priced ice cream than anyone needs.
This is the story of that change, viewed from a one-bedroom apartment, second floor front. And while the accompanying narrative is by the tenant, the author, it connects with all those others drawn to New York to prove themselves in that most competitive of environments—in the arts, fashion, business, and sports. Over time, they saw their situations change, and their priorities, putting their city lives in jeopardy.
The View from Apartment Four presents an intimate picture of the impact of these changes on the author as he goes from being single to a married father of four, then joins those other New Yorkers forced to leave the city by taking on adult responsibilities avoided in our youth, all while pursuing his work-a-day career as a writer.