Chronic Cities describes the New York mood pretty well, in a neighborhood where I've rarely been when I was living in New York, the Upper West Side. There's a lot of good characters and a tiger walking through New York, too. It reminds me of my time in this city, when I also did not understand much.
This is a riveting classic. It flows with descriptive representations of impossible places and odd times. Calvino knows how to image a city with visceral detail. For me, this book unpacks New York, as a fantasy within a fantasy - ever-changing and therefore never truly knowing.
The city is the protagonist. A maze about politics, activism, art. Very related to the Maquis de Sade.