In 1996, my new New York husband and I rented an apartment in the Apthorp building on the Upper West Side – and oh – was Randy excited. “All sorts of famous people live here!” he said, “including Nora Ephron.” I was excited, too. Only I never ran into her. Not once. But Nora’s risk-taking heroines were my role models. I had moved to New York for love.
Two apartments and one co-op board later, out comes my novel, What Nora Knew, about Molly Hallberg, an online journalist who’s fearless in everything but love. Molly’s assigned to write about New York romance in the style of Nora Ephron and flunks out big-time. Ironically, her journey toward figuring out love retraces many of the scenes from Nora’s movies. Okay, not so ironically, it’s all on purpose. They’re scenes you can easily trace back to Nora’s films, because when it came to love and New York and romantic settings, who knew more than Nora? Listen up, Molly Hallberg.
New York, NY 10023
Built sometime between 1906 and 1908 for William Waldorf Astor, the Apthorp takes up the entire block bordered by Broadway, 78th, West End Avenue and 79th streets on the Upper West Side. A cobblestone courtyard that centers a fountain was once used for carriages to turn around. Famous residents have included Rosie O’Donnell, Al Pacino and Conan O’Brien. And yes, Nora Ephron.
Related: New York’s Best Literary Landmarks
Empire State Building
350 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10118
Officially opened on May 1, 1931, the building was completed in only 18 months, just in time to be straddled with a 20% occupancy rate during the Depression. The 86th floor observatory, 1,250 over the city, is a must-see for seeing the city. The Empire State Building’s been featured in over 250 Hollywood films including, Sleepless in Seattle.
201 West 83rd St.
New York, NY 10024
If you ever happen to actually visit Café Lalo, look in the front window; you’ll see movie stills of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks from You’ve Got Mail. Then forget those movie stills and go directly inside and dive into that pastry case.
Lincoln Center Greenmarket
W. 66th and Columbus
Tucker Square, NY
Stop here to buy organic apples, fruits and fresh vegetables. Along with homemade soaps, candles and crafts. In warm weather you can sit outdoors at a little café table and enjoy the goodies right on the spot.
Riverside Park flower gardens
At 91st Street in Riverside Park.
If you hit the Hudson River, you know you’ve gone too far west.
A four-acre colorful stretch of flowers surrounded by walkways and crabapple trees, it’s a perfect place for an afternoon promenade. Riverside Park was built over the original Hudson River Railroad. With the river to the west, Manhattan to the east, it’s a quieter and more romantic setting than Central Park. And a perfect place for Meg’s first kiss with Tom in You’ve Got Mail.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Harry and Sally visited the Temple of Dendur, a small Egyptian temple built around 15 B.C. and given to the United States as a gift from Egypt in 1965. One of the grandest rooms in the museum, there’s a reflecting pool and a stippled glass wall designed to recreate the original Egyptian light. Molly and her girlfriends visit the Greek and Roman galleries, a wing reopened in 2007 after a major reconstruction, and where you’re sure to find a headless torso or torso-less head to your liking.
205 East Houston (at Ludlow Street)
New York, NY 10002
In the novel, a reverential call-out is made to Katz’s deli on the Lower East Side. We all remember that scene in When Harry Met Sally… Katz’s is famous for pastrami, salami and corned beef. Unless you’ll have what Sally’s having.
After years in advertising, Linda Yellin fell in love, got married, and moved to New York from Chicago, going through as many changes as a person possibly can without entering the Federal Witness Protection Program. Linda is a frequent contributor to “More” magazine, has written a dozen short stories in “Redbook,” “Family Circle,” a novel, “Such A Lovely Couple” and a memoir, “The Last Blind Date.” She is a regular guest on SiriusXM radio’s “Broadminded.”
Linda’s most recent novel What Nora Knew was published this month by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. For more information on future releases or to get a free eBook, sign up for the Simon & Schuster newsletter!