Introduction to the Literature of New York with Nick Birns from NYA – Washington Square and Greenwich Village

A day to be remembered! Nick so generously took us through his life-long experience of New York and his passionate lover of the literature that it has produced, and his deep sense of the social and ethical insights that reading and understanding this literature can give. Thank you Nick!

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With Nick’s permission here is the audio of his lecture to our keen students from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney:

and Eric Chase -fabulously talented (owner of NYLiterary Pub Crawls Wanderings):

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And here is Eric  (and James) introducing students to what we are going to be around New York over the next few days and the protocol of our tours around the town:

So we begin with Washington Square which anchored us in the world of Henry James and also in the world of neighbouring Greenwich Village home to writers, artists, musicians, dramatists and theatre people for the last 100 years.

Here is Eric and his colleauge Merika’s introduction to Washington Square and Greenwich Village

We had a real treat of a group of grey squirrels cavorting in the freezing weather:

But then Eric and Marica took us deeply into the world of Greenwich Village, both 18th and 20th Century.

Here is a slice of James Baldwin’s connection  in Greenwich Village:

And here is a glimpse into the world of O’Henry and his wonderful story “The Last Leaf””


You can read The Last Leaf here: Read

And here is a long discussion around the radicalism in the 60s centreing on the Stone Wall Inn. You can read the history of the Inn here– and thank you Eric for this impassioned, inspiring talk.

At the very end of the day we all headed off to see To Kill a Mocking Bird which was a powerfully confronting reminder of the continuing racism in American- no this is not an issue that has gone away; it is still very strongly with us. But this play presents the play with compassion and humour and with a real sense that there is some hope in the future. It was a wonderful production. You can read the New York Times review of the play right here:


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