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Download Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York Audiobook, by Ariel Sabar Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (184 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ariel Sabar Narrator: Neil Shah Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2011 ISBN: 9781455199785
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The handsome Texas sailor who offers dinner to a runaway in Central Park. The Midwestern college girl who stops a cop in Times Square for restaurant advice. The Brooklyn man on a midnight subway who helps a weary tourist find her way to Chinatown. The Columbia University graduate student who encounters an unexpected object of beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A public place in the world’s greatest city. A chance meeting of strangers. A marriage. Heart of the City tells the remarkable true stories of nine ordinary couples—from the 1940s to the present—whose matchmaker was the city of New York.

Intrigued by the romance of his own parents, who met in Washington Square Park, award-winning author Ariel Sabar set off on a far-ranging search for other couples who married after first meeting in one of New York City’s iconic public spaces. Sabar conjures their big-city love stories in novel-like detail, drawing us into the hearts of strangers just as their lives are about to change forever. 

In setting the stage for these surprising, funny, and moving tales, Sabar, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, offers a fascinating look at the role of place in how—and whether—people meet and fall in love.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Sabar] not only reports on the science of attraction in man-made environments…but also, more compellingly, offers true stories as evidence.”

    Elle

  • “An engaging, moving and lively read…Written in novelistic style…each of these nine stories define serendipity and provoke wonder.”

    Toronto Star

  • “Inspired by his parents’ story of meeting in Washington Square Park, National Book Critics Circle Award winner Sabar looks at the ‘environmental psychology’ of New York City’s iconic public spaces…the strength of this effort lies in its sweetness.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The stories touch the heart. They are poignant, compelling, absorbing, romantic, and just flat-out sweet. Reading them, even hardened cynics will feel the urge to hug someone."

    Providence Journal

  • “Sabar’s thoroughly engaging Heart of the City profiles nine couples who met at famous New York City public spaces…Sabar has teased out each of these couples’ magnificent, ordinary stories and compiled them into a sparkling love letter to the city.”

    BookPage

  • “Ask anyone from Woody Allen to Carrie Bradshaw: there’s no love story quite like a New York love story.  In Heart of the City Ariel Sabar tells nine true—and very moving—stories of people who met in the Big Apple.”

    Town and Country

  • “With each story I felt like I was watching a mini movie. I couldn’t put the book down, which led to many late nights…This collection affirmed my belief that people can find true love in life if they keep their eyes open.”

    Lisa Loeb, singer / songwriter

  • People Magazine’s “Great Reads”
  • New York Post’s “Required Reading” List

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 2/7/2014

    " I think I liked the introduction the best. (Seriously it was an interesting one! Makes me want to read about the design of public spaces.) Cute stories, but I suppose short love stories in rapid succession are not my thing. It happens enough in real life! I'm bumping it up to 3 stars instead of 2 because it is always nice to be reminded of home. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 2/4/2014

    " Started listening to this one today June 30 on my way home from Booth Bay Harbor "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danell | 2/1/2014

    " I've never been to New York, but it's a place I've fanticized about and has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I loved the concept of this book - how the city is a character and a factor in these real people's love stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jan | 1/18/2014

    " A book of 9 true tales of people who met and fell in love in NYC. Mostly, it's a fun and pleasant read. Some of the relationships seemed a little weird to me - not my cup of tea, I guess. I had to wonder if they actually had staying power. But maybe that's just me. Otherwise, I enjoyed the book a lot. Except I wish it had pictures of the couples. What was up with that? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 1/16/2014

    " This was a very enjoyable read. Each story was sweetly romantic without being overly sappy. If there was was drawback to the stories it was that they all ended so abruptly. There was the meeting, then the courtship. But once the agreement to marry was made the narration just stopped. To make up for these abrupt endings the author include a chapter at the end of the book detailing how each couple made out with the rest of their lives. I would have rather these were weaved into each chapter rather than adding one to cover them all at the end of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tiffany Lampkin | 1/14/2014

    " I saw this book in People magazine and thought it sounded interesting... It was a great book!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 1/7/2014

    " Ariel Sabar starts out with an intriguing concept, and though his introduction explains it in a slightly dry manner, it's kind of the nature of the topic and the studies he cites are interesting. I always love hearing how people meet, so reading nine love stories was like being a fly on the wall. Except I don't know what the couples look like, and had to wait until the end to find out what happened after Sabar left off. Because of that, I had to refresh my memory on who each couple was. To his credit, he did a lot of research, so each story reads like fiction. The effect of place on relationships would be a good discussion topic. My story, however, doesn't involve place, but people. That'd be a whole 'nother book... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pia | 1/6/2014

    " Although a bit on the cheesy side, it's a historical account of how people met on the streets. With the stories of "Oh, we met in a bar" or "we were introduced," these stories set New York City up as the ultimate matchmaker. The stories were well written and extremely well researched. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 12/24/2013

    " A brief little book on love and the serendipitous forces that bring people together, with a small emphasis on what role environment plays in the whole thing. Neat! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fuschia | 12/19/2013

    " 8/10, Oh, Serendipity! Charming little read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 11/27/2013

    " Sabar explores nine "how they met" stories in this work - all centering on the premise of meeting on the streets of New York. A fun read for Valentine's displays.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roland | 11/20/2013

    " top books of the year so far, i love connected stories, so very good "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 11/7/2013

    " Excellent story-telling! Possibly the best book I've read in years. Incredible stories told in a most compelling style. Great read!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 10/23/2013

    " Overall quite enjoyable, although some of the vignettes were way too sweet to be believable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 8/17/2013

    " Perfect for a Valentine's Day mood. This is a series of short stories about couples who met in public places, often on the street or in parks around NYC. Some of the stories are more substantial than others, but it's a sweet book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 8/7/2013

    " Good recommendation..... Short stories, all around different laces in the city. Interesting perspective.... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Caitlin | 1/22/2013

    " Awful and trite. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristin Saper | 1/14/2013

    " Maybe it's just me, but some of these love stories were less than inspiring... I like the idea of the book but the architectural angle was of zero interest and the stories seemed to end at odd times "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 7/12/2012

    " Enjoyable but didn't quite live up to the premise. The research and the stories weren't blended together. The reader would have done better not to do accents. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Az | 7/2/2012

    " Touching, but starts to feel like Austen--too many of the stories end with a wedding. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 9/22/2011

    " Stick through the dry beginning of the hows and whys of environmental pyschology to get to the "heart" of the book: the nine love stories centered around landmarks of NYC. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 6/21/2011

    " Excellent book! Perhaps the best book I've read in years. Beautiful story telling that left me wanting more, wanting story no. 10. Impressed also with Sabar's research and attention to getting details right. Loved it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 6/3/2011

    " A brief little book on love and the serendipitous forces that bring people together, with a small emphasis on what role environment plays in the whole thing. Neat! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Az | 4/17/2011

    " Touching, but starts to feel like Austen--too many of the stories end with a wedding. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fuschia | 3/22/2011

    " 8/10, Oh, Serendipity! Charming little read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla Jean | 3/17/2011

    " Beautifully told love stories, plus insight into the psychology of public space. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 3/3/2011

    " Stick through the dry beginning of the hows and whys of environmental pyschology to get to the "heart" of the book: the nine love stories centered around landmarks of NYC. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tiffany | 2/13/2011

    " I saw this book in People magazine and thought it sounded interesting... It was a great book!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 2/5/2011

    " Sooo cute, heart warming and inspirational!! "

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About the Author
Author Ariel Sabar


Ariel Sabar is an award-winning former staff writer for the Baltimore Sun and the Rhode Island Providence Journal. His work has also appeared in the New York Times and other major publications. He is the author of My Father’s Paradise, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives with his wife and two children in Washington, DC.

About the Narrator

Neil Shah is an Audie Award–nominated narrator and voice-over artist who has recorded numerous audiobooks and won an AudioFile Earphones Award. His reading include I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, and Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo by Anjan Sundaram. He is a classically trained actor with an MFA from the Old Globe / University of San Diego program and has appeared on off-Broadway and regional stages, as well as in film and television.