Between 1940 and 1965, New York City witnessed a period of intellectual ferment and artistic creation unsurpassed in the history of any modern city. It was during these years that New York became known as the global metropolis of the twentieth century, as Paris had been the city of the nineteenth. As early as as the turn of the century, the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan's rising skyline had proclaimed the city's importance, but not until the decades after 1939 did New York attain the cultural influence to match its political and economic stature.
Beat poetry and Pop art, the Seagram Building and swing music, Partisan Review and West Side Story—all were part of a time and a city that exploded with excitement. This was the heyday of writers forging a new urban fiction, such as Bernard Malamud and Ralph Ellison; of intellectuals like Hannah Arendt and Lionel Trilling; of painters Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning; of jazz musician Duke Ellington and folk singer Bob Dylan.
New York traces this era of unprecedented creativity and achievement in literature, the visual arts, architecture, music, dance, theater, and social and political thought in a series of essays by some of the most respected scholars, critics, and commentators writing today.