Maybe it's because the authors lived here, but dozens of classic books for kids are set in the center of New York. Crickets in their pages hang out, not in cornfields, but in Midtown. Mice don't run down country lanes: They sail boats in Central Park.
Have you ever read Dante's Inferno? Don Quixote? How about Around the World in 80 Days, or Crime and Punishment? If you've read them, you know just how memorable and touching the experience of reading a literary masterpiece can be. But have you ever read them... in the original?
I'm often struck by the opening sentence of a novel or short story. It can draw me in and set expectations for what's to come. This isn't always true, of course, but a story's first line is the author's opening salvo.