The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #29
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 – 1940)
Popularly considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, F. Scott Fitzgerald moved to New York after graduating from Princeton and lived at 200 Claremont Avenue, where he finished his first novel, This Side of Paradise. His first three books capture 1920’s New York with the same vividity that Dickens had in London or Joyce had in Dublin. The Beautiful and the Damned is set against the thriving New York café society of the early 20’s and The Great Gatsby – popularly considered his masterpiece – treats us to poetic descriptions of the Queensboro Bridge, the Plaza Hotel, Harlem, and many other icons of the city, as well as the wealthy Long Island suburbs that turn out not to be as safe a refuge from urban stress as their inhabitants had hoped. Many of his short stories, including The Cut-Glass Bowl and The Freshest Boy, also take place in the city, featuring such long gone locations as the old Knickerbocker Hotel, the Biltmore, and Child’s Restaurant. As famous for his opulent, booze-filled lifestyle as for his writing, Fitzgerald married his volatile kindred spirit Zelda at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1920. They were long estranged by the time of his death at age 44.
- Posted in: 10 Best List