Saying Goodbye To New York

Amateur superheroes decked out in their finest spandex and latex swarmed midtown Manhattan this weekend for the eighth annual New York Comic Con, a celebration of comic books, sci-fi and video games. Bryan Pace for New York Daily News 25-year-old Shelly Scarlet dressed as “Red Sonia”. Organizers estimate around 125,000 people will have filed through the convention center over the sold-out four days ending Sunday making it the second largest nerdfest in the country behind the Hulk-sized San Diego Comic Con. Bryan Pace for New York Daily News 28-year-old Ken Crofton dressed as Thanos. But one thing San Diego cant match are the Big Apple beauties. Bryan Pace for New York Daily News 28-year-old Mariana Li as Superwoman. Marisa Semioli, 20, of Staten Island endured plenty of cat calls on the way to the convention floor in her latex and faux-fur Black Cat costume, including from a few uncultured clods who confused her with Catwoman. I got a lot of, I could be your Spider-Man, she said as she was flocked by admirers Saturday. You feel like youre the character, its a great feeling. Bryan Pace for New York Daily News Yaya Han dressed as Madam Hydra. RELATED: HYUNDAI BRINGS THE ULTIMATE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL MACHINE TO COMIC CON Pratt Institute student Molly Glover, a huge Game of Thrones fan, recruited seven friends from school to form a human Iron Throne from the HBO fantasy series. The 20-year-old budding costume designer started in August and made the costume out of fabric and spray-painted pool noodles. Bryan Pace for New York Daily News 25-year-old Sarah Nielsen dressed as Black Widow. I wanted to find people who were willing to contribute and all of my friends graciously accepted, said Glover. Bryan Pace for New York Daily News Stacey Weiland dressed as Mad Moxie from the video game Borderlands. Even Game of Thrones actor Jerome Flynn was impressed, and took time to sit on the throne between signing autographs.

Yaya Han dressed as Madam Hydra.

RELATED NEW YORK: Police announced on Saturday that, after an investigation that lasted more than two decades, they had arrested the killer of a child who was nicknamed Baby Hope by detectives after her body was discovered inside a picnic cooler beside a Manhattan highway in 1991. During an interrogation early on Saturday, the 4-year-old girl’s cousin, Conrado Juarez, had admitted sexually assaulting and smothering her, police commissioner Raymond Kelly said. The child’s name and the circumstances of her death had been a mystery for two decades. But earlier this week, police announced that a new tip and a DNA test had allowed them to finally identify the baby’s mother, a dramatic turnaround in one of the city’s more notorious cold cases. Now they are also revealing the slain girl’s name: Anjelica Castillo. It wasn’t clear whether Juarez, 52, had a lawyer. Police said he lived in the Bronx, but that the family had been living in Queens at the time of the killing. They also said Juarez claimed that a relative helped him dispose of the child’s body. Anjelica’s naked, malnourished corpse was discovered on July 23, 1991, beside the Henry Hudson Parkway. Detectives thought she might have been suffocated but had few other clues as to what happened. The case became an obsession for some investigators. Hundreds of people attended a funeral for the unknown girl in 1993. Her body was exhumed for DNA testing in 2007, and then again in 2011. In July, detectives tried another round of publicity on the 22nd anniversary of the discovery.

Scott Fitzgerald and Mona Simpson, the original Didion piece, although that book took a more historical overview. Both collections get at the sense of hope (or ambition) with which New York seduces us, as well as how living in the city can turn, leaving us with wistfulness and regret. I am, I should admit, very susceptible to such a message; as a native New Yorker, I know firsthand the highs and lows of living in the city; I left, also, in my late 20s, although to this day, I continue to feel its pull. And yet, Im no longer very young, which is why, perhaps, I relate most viscerally to the writers in Goodbye to All That I have mentioned, to their experience and their years. When Edelman tells us, I felt certain Id cycle back some day: it didnt seem possible for me to ever break free of New Yorks gravitational pull. But married life developed its own momentum, I know exactly what she means. I, too, came to California for a couple of years at most a couple of years that have now lasted longer than two decades. And when Ann Hood describes, in her magnificent Manhattan, Always Out of Reach, the experience of losing her 5-year-old daughter Grace to a virulent form of strep, she exposes the key lie we tell ourselves about iconic places: that they will save us, protect us, in some way, from ourselves. New York didnt matter, Hood writes of the aftermath of Graces dying. Nothing mattered…. I locked myself in my bedroom and thought, I will never leave here. Unfortunately, such depth is missingfrom a lot of Goodbye to All That, which in places reads like a scrapbook of notes about New York as fantasy turned sour. Too many of the essays are too similar, too safe, reflections on the desire to become a writer, on living in a small apartment, or the realization that, as Didion so brilliantly put it, not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it. Thats a tricky but essential point, and it infuses Didions essay with a sense not just of loss but also of inevitability, of the innocence that living strips away. Still, for all that they refer back to her Didions name comes up in most of these pieces too much of the writing here does not share her depth. That’s because so many of the contributors seem inexperienced somehow, lacking perspective, as it were. This leaves their work unsettled, a litany of impressions “Even before I’d ever set foot on its teeming streets,” Marie Myung-Ok Lee declares in “Misfits Fit Here,” “New York City represented to me the perfect place” that feel less lived than received.