Amazing Short Stories About New York City

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New York City is the center of art. There are a lot of plays, art exhibitions, street artists, architecture and much more. It was the focus of several novels from The great Gatsby to me Goldfinch. But besides the novels, there were plenty of short stories about New York. These are examples of what it means to be a New Yorker. They capture the rhythm and life of the city. If you’re looking for some great reads about the city you love, we have the perfect list for you.

Amazing Short Stories About New York City

The Paul Case by Willa Cather

This story The great Gatsby twenty years ago The great Gatsby. Young teen Paul has hints of grandiosity. He sees New York City as a playground of wealth that he wants to be a part of. Despite his lack of wealth, he had a brief stint playing in an organ of high life in the big city. Throughout the story, Paul remains painfully unaware of the reality of the people and places around him, and the struggle it takes to live day to day.

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Signs and Symbols of Vladimir Nabokov

This short story follows an elderly couple who are going to visit their son in a sanitarium. Nabokov called it a story within a story, because you find the couple’s past stories on their journey. Signs and symbolA grim look at anti-Semitism in the years following the Holocaust.

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The gift of the Magi is one of the most poignant short stories about New York that made its way into classic literature. The story follows a poor young couple trying to buy each other Christmas gifts. They both end up giving away something precious to them to get a gift for their significant other. The real present in the end is love.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving


Sleepy Hollow It’s a classic ghost story perfect for Halloween or not. Set in a town where New York will later be built, we see young Ichabod Crane being chased by a haunted scarecrow. Although this story is not deeply about the city we know and love, it did lay a foundation for storytelling and culture. It’s a must-read classic.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Algernon flowers It’s more of a novel than a short story, but we don’t like it any more. This story will make you cry for days. Follow Charlie, a mentally handicapped man, as he rapidly loses tremendous brain capacity. Charley wonders around the city, taking the reader with him all over Manhattan.

Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving

Rip Van Winkle is a classic ghost story set in pre-revolutionary New York. The title characters wander into the mountains to avoid annoying his wife. There he meets some ghosts and when he returns to the city it will have been twenty years. It is a haunting look at the history of the Dutch settlers in the region and their role in American culture before and after the Revolution.

The Horror in Red Hook by HP Lovecraft

If you’re looking for an introduction to HP Lovecraft, The Horror at Red Hook is a great place to start. It is full of mystery and horror that will make you wonder what will happen next. A detective in Red Hook, just west of Park Place, investigates a crime but discovers more than he bargained for. Based in New York, this short story combines the supernatural with the reality of New York City.

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Frannie and Zoe by J.D. Salinger

Frannie and Zoe It is the story of family relationships and siblings. The seemingly mundane story of two brothers (Frannie and Zoe) living their lives illustrates the multi-layered nature of family relationships.

Slave to New York by Tama Janowitz

You can read the title story or Janowitz’s book of the same name which is a collection of short stories about New York. Her collection focuses on individuals in the art scene trying to survive in the big city and all the struggles they face. It’s perfect for anyone who’s new in town or short on cash.

The Cop and the Anthem by O. Henry

New York City’s failure to combat homelessness is no secret. The policeman and the national anthem It follows a homeless man who tries to arrest him so he has a place to stay for the winter. However, all his attempts fail, until he is arrested for simply standing on a street corner. This story covers systemic issues such as homelessness, the prison industrial complex, and the survival imperative of crime.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

You may have already seen the iconic movie adaptation starring Audrey Hepburn, but have you ever read the original Breakfast at Tiffany’s? There is actually less similarity between the two works than you might expect, but that doesn’t make this classic short story any less wonderful. The story moves on to some of the darker aspects that were glazed over into the movie, so you’ll be sure to find some new content. Plus who couldn’t relate to a young woman struggling to survive in New York who wishes she could go shopping at Tiffany’s?

Roman Fever with Arithmetic by Edith Wharton

This short story follows two middle-aged New York women on vacation in Rome. Their friendship is plagued by two decades of jealousy and lies. Through the story, the powerfully negative friends tell about the terrible things they did to each other.

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Jolly Corner by Henry James

Jolly Corner He confronts the issues of the all-consuming American capitalist business system. The hero, who lives abroad, returns to New York and discovers that he would have been a great businessman if he had stayed in the States.

New York Giant Statue by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead has gathered stories and memories of New York City to paint a picture of what it’s like to be there. This historical work covers the immediacy felt by a city dweller. It is associated with both those who have lived in New York all their lives, and those who have just arrived.

Reputed reformer Robert W. Chambers

A reputation repairman places New York in a dystopian future, even though the narrator believes the world has improved. There was the rise of a new aristocracy in the United States that drove out foreign influence. This story illustrates an American hunger for power that has not died in the 125 years since it was published.

How to Be Another Woman by Lori Moore

This story deals with what it means to be a mature woman who is lost, and still not sure of herself. The protagonist discovers that she is not the other woman of his lover, but the other woman, because he has many mistresses. You don’t know if she is happy or not. It’s a story to tell for all the women of New York.

The Jewish Bird by Bernard Malamud

Flying Gems Confronts the reality of anti-Semitism in the twentieth century. Raven identifies as a Jew trying to make a home in New York after fleeing persecution. Unfortunately, despite his attempts, he still faces hardships. This story is largely read as an allegory.

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