Written by Kim van Alkemade
My next novel is set in and around New York in 1968. Every day I sit at my writing desk, I fly back in time as I research little details. Today I came across this wonderful film montage “A Walk Through New York City in 1968.” It’s just the kind of resource a writer of historical fiction loves: images of fashion, people, cars, street signs, and storefronts. What I love about setting my stories in New York City is that the past is so present. I remember going to the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall when I was a kid. Today, my publisher, Simon & Schuster, has their offices in Rockefeller Center. This morning, instead of reading today’s paper, I’ll be reading the news from April 13, 1968 thanks to The New York Times archives available through TimesMachine. Cities from Baltimore to Chicago to Newark are cleaning up after riots sparked by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Wounded Marines at war in Vietnam are being evacuated from Khesahn--along with a German Shepard scout dog--while B52s drop deadly bombs near Danang. Women students at the University of Georgia staged a sit-down strike demanding a more liberal curfew and the right to drink on campus. Last night, a total lunar eclipse was witnessed from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Movies playing in Manhattan today include Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Graduate, Planet of the Apes, and 2001 A Space Odyssey. Oh, and there’s a sale on albums at Sam Goody, with the new Janis Ian LP going for just $2.39--but hurry, this sale ends soon.