O'Hara in New York City
By Richard Carreño
John O'Hara and his works has been identified with my locales, places where his characters lived and breathed the environment where they lived. Of course Pottsville/Gibbsville and O'Hara's Pennsylvania Region has the strongest bond. But Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and, most important, New York also played seminal roles in developing the O'Hara oeuvre. In past posts, we've detailed sites in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. And a bit of O'Hara's New York, thanks to the Society's tour of several venues there.

A guide I recently found in a second-hand sale has now helped me flesh out some other New York sites haunted by O'Hara's ghost. The book has a longish title, Notable New York: The West Side & Greenwich Village -- A Walking Guide to the Historic Homes of Famous (and Infamous) New Yorkers. It's by Stephen W. Plumb.

:) happy 19 West 55th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues
Author John O'Hara was a young, poor, aspiring writer in 1932 when he and his first wife, Pet, took a cheap apartment in this building. He managed to survive by selling a few short stories to The New Yorker. He also worked for a short time in the publicity department of RKO Pictures. But with his marriage on the rocks and his increasing unhappiness with New York, O'Hara decided to take an editorial job in Pittsburgh. Fame came to O'Hara in 1934 when he returned to New York and wrote his first novel, Appointment in Samarra.
:) happy Rockefeller Apartments, 17 West 54th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues
John O'Hara and his wife, Belle, lived at the Rockefeller Apartments in 1934.
:) happy London Terrace, 470 West 24th Street, at Tenth Avenue
John O'Hara lived in London Terrace in 1937. It was here that he finished his novel, Hope of Heaven. He kept the apartment for some time afterwards and sublet it when he was out of town.

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