This is not a new topic for me, so indulge me. My last two years of college, post-community college, I had a subscription to the VILLAGE VOICE. Here I was, a 20-year-old in a campus dining hall in Alabama reading the barometer of what's hip in New York City. Of course, to me I might as well have been reading about Iraq or Darfur, it was so exotic to me. This was 1988-1990, the era of Joel Steinberg, Michael Alig and Tawana Brawley, but, in my mind, it mostly belonged to three writers: Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis and Tama Janowitz, labeled incidentally by the VOICE, the "literary brat pack." I had read the male writers at the time but for whatever reason the Janowitz book never materialized (of course these were the days when the only way you got a book not in stores was to try and "special order" it at the mall bookstore, which may or may not work.) SLAVES OF NEW YORK is a vaguely interconnected collection of short stories about the lower rung of the art world in 1980s Manhattan, specifically the Lower East Side. A lion's share of the stories feature Eleanor, a jewelry designer, and her artist boyfriend Stash, as well as a handful about quirky artist Marley Mantello. Satellite characters shadow the corners, some repeating, some one-timers, like the man who likes to take women to Tiffany's, have them pick out a piece of jewelry, then make like he forgot his wallet. I thought reading the book over 25 years past its' cultural expiration date might allow the book to be seen as a time capsule (in a good way), but the book is lite on atmosphere and heavy on character. And it's not that the characters are unlikable; Eleanor is interesting in her own way, but her acquiescence to Stash becomes quite tiresome as the book goes on. My favorite story chronicles a baseball game amongst artists played under the 59th Street Bridge; it's during this piece that Janowitz's artistry shines and shows a New York that existed in a time and place. Overall, the most disappointing thing is how unimportant the book seems now compared to the buzz upon it's' release, like a firecracker that never went off.