A panoramic literary portrait of Mexico City— a vibrant, seductive, paradoxical city now commanding the world’s attention and showing us the way to the future of urban life.
David Lida moved to Mexico City fifteen years ago in search of a kind of culture, energy, and spontaneity that he thought had been lost in his native New York City. What he found was a thriving, miraculous urban center comprising centuries of living history, even as its rapid development was making it a prominent force on the world stage. Through the eyes of an American who has become an insider, First Stop in the New World is a street-level panorama of contemporary Mexico City—from the high arts to the sex industry; from the dense jungle of urban politics to the interactions of everyday commerce; from one end of this five-hundred-square-mile city to the other. Lida expertly captures the kaleidoscopic nature of life in a city defined by pleasure and danger, justice and lawlessness, ecstatic joy and appalling tragedy—in limbo between the developed and developing worlds.
While London and Paris have become more homogenous, less captivating, and less surprising since the days when Dickens and Balzac wrote about them, Mexico City points to our urban future—if Manhattan was, as posited by Rem Koolhaas, the urban “Rosetta Stone of the twentieth century,” Mexico City will play that same role in the twenty-first. And with his personal, literary-journalistic account, David Lida will serve as the ultimate chronicler of this exciting city at a vital moment in its history.