Guessing Game: Celebrities' Coming to New York Stories


In April 2009 New York Magazine published their “My First New York” issue, which included interviews with artists, musicians, politicians, porn stars, and actors about their first time in New York. After the success of the issue, New York Magazine expanded the idea into a 250-page book,

, with stories that evoke every emotion possible about NYC.

Knowing that our readers are cultural experts, we’ve devised a game that will test your celebrity trivia prowess. After the jump you’ll find excerpts from 10 different celebrities’ stories. See if you can guess who the story belongs to and highlight the black box below the excerpt to find out if you’re correct. And if you feel so inclined, let us know about your first New York experience in comments.

“When I met Julian, I told him I played guitar. He said, ‘That’s funny, we’re looking for a guitar player.’ When I tried out, I had a fever and didn’t play well and thought for sure I didn’t get the job. What I didn’t know is that he had already decided I would be in the band.” Answer: Albert Hammond, Jr.

“I first moved here when the woman I was with decided to go to NYU law school. We lived in married- student housing, though we weren’t married, and they were really just dorms. We were assigned a freshman dorm, and I was twenty-five and had never felt older in my life. We split up after a few months. We had moved from Washington, and I was trying to learn to write radio stories. I wasn’t a terribly fast study, so I did other things, like working as a temp secretary. I made about fifteen thousand dollars a year.” Answer: Ira Glass

“I went back to L.A. to write my second album, Poses. L.A. was also where I learned how to drink and do drugs, how to scope out the dealer and get into the party, and how to drive drunk (which I don’t do anymore). So when I finally returned to New York, in the summer of 1999, I was like a heat-seeking missile to find out what was happening, where was the fun, where were the goods, and who I wanted to go home with.” Answer: Rufus Wainwright

“I read Luc Sante’s Low Life and discovered the Lower East Side. Tompkins Square Park we never went to — it was gnarly. I remember going to Avenue A and being really scared. I was young and from Connecticut: it just felt like a situation I didn’t want to put myself in.” Answer: Chloe Sevigny

“Sometimes we’d go to the exploding Plastic Inevitable, Andy Warhol’s nightclub extravaganza that he ran on St. Marks Place. But the main thing was the watering holes, chief among them Mickey Ruskin’s Max’s Kansas City. Andy and his entourage would be in the back room with Rauschenberg and his entourage, and we younger artists like Robert Smithson and Dorothea Rockburne and Mel Bochner would tend to be in booths up front.” Answer: Chuck Close

“I grew up in the Bay area, so I’m fairly ‘at one’ with nature, but this was different. California nature is lovely. New York nature is disgusting. At first, I was really grossed out by it, but by summertime, I remember lying on my couch watching TV with a water gun, and every time a mouse would run out from behind the TV, I would just spray it. There was no ‘let’s try and catch them’; it was just like, ‘Take a hike, buddy.'” Answer: Andy Samberg

“I remember going to a party with a bunch of Broadway and film gays, and the one-liner one-upmanship felt like a scene from Will & Grace, which at the time was my lame yardstick for what passed for New York salon conversation. My HTML skills had improved in San Francisco, but I’d lost my edge. I thought I was being really witty, but at one point on a ski trip to Tahoe, it became clear that everyone thought I was just an asshole.” Answer: Nick Denton

“I grew up in L.A. and moved back here to go to college at Columbia, where I lived in the dorm for the first two years. I had a boyfriend who lived on Ludlow Street, and I couldn’t believe a place as alive and wild as that existed. I wanted to drop out of school and hang out there. I remember there was this guy who would take PCP. And when he did, everyone on the block would stop what they were doing and lock the doors and hide from him as he smashed car windows.” Answer: Maggie Gyllenhaal

“I go to the Columbia library all the time. Everybody used to come up to me in the library. Then I realized I was in the one room people are free to talk in. Now I go to the quiet room.” Answer: James Franco

“I started to appreciate how in New York, as opposed to Paris, you can have an idea in the morning and make it happen in the afternoon. And how if you’re waiting in a line, you can start a conversation with people you don’t know. In France, you look a little deranged if you do that.” Answer: Michel Gondry