Page 54. " Think of the expressive beauty of the Empire State Building "


The Empire State Building seen from New Jersey
Creative Commons AttributionThe Empire State Building seen from New Jersey - Credit: joiseyshowaa -

The Empire State Building is the tallest building in New York, and one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. Its 102 stories were completed in 1931, and it stood as the world’s tallest building for forty years. It is used for offices but is also a tourist attraction, with an observation deck on the 86th floor, and has made numerous film appearances, some of the most notable of which are King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle.


The Empire State Building in fact glowed blue in 1995 on the evening of Frank Sinatra’s 80th birthday as well as the evening of his death in 1998, in tribute to his nickname ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’. Different colours are used to light the building for different celebrations, notable events and sports matches, as Changez describes in the book, but on ordinary evenings it is lit with plain white lighting.

Page 56. " in the heart of the Upper East Side "


The Upper East Side from 96th Street
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Upper East Side from 96th Street - Credit: Alex Maisuradze
Between Central Park and the East River, the Upper East Side of Manhattan is New York’s most affluent area. Once known as the ‘Silk Stocking District’, it is famed for its high cost of housing, schools and living, notable residents and ‘museum mile’, housing some of the most famous museums in the world, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Upper East Side

Google Map



Page 57. " wearing a short Mighty Mouse T-shirt "

Mighty Mouse was a cartoon superhero mouse created by the Terrytoons studio. He originally appeared in 1942 as a parody of Superman, and became a cultural icon during the 50s when he was given a television show. The show ended in the 60s, was revived briefly in the 70s and 80s, but the character has not been seen since the 1990s.

Page 60. " inspired by one of his Tintin comics, Flight 714 "

The Adventures of Tintin were a series of comic-strip albums written by the Belgian illustrator Hergé, featuring a young reporter, Tintin, as the hero. Flight 714 was published in 1968 as the 22nd and penultimate book in the series. In the comic, the heroes fail to catch Flight 714 to Sydney and instead become embroiled in a plot featuring a millionaire, a private plane and an island in Indonesia.

Page 60. " around the corner to the Lahore Museum "

Lahore Museum
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLahore Museum - Credit: Guilhem Vellut
Established in 1894, the Lahore Museum is located on The Mall in Lahore. It holds a collection of paintings dating back to the Mughal, Sikh and British eras, as well as examples of traditional architecture and collections of pottery, musical instruments, jewellery, textiles and weapons. Notably, Rudyard Kipling’s novel Kim was set in and around the Lahore Museum and his father, John Lockwood Kipling, was a curator here.

Page 61. " In truth, many Pakistanis drink "

‘Intoxication’ is forbidden according to the Qu’ran, and as a result alcohol and other drugs are illegal under Muslim law. Observant Muslims should avoid alcohol, even leaving it out of recipes whilst cooking. As Islam is the predominant religion in Pakistan, this means that technically around 97% of the country should not be able to drink, but in reality the alcohol situation is quite different.

Page 63. " on the front page of The Wall Street Journal "

The Wall Street Journal was founded in 1889 and has the highest circulation of any newspaper in the USA with a readership of 2.1 million. It is printed in New York City and mainly covers American financial and economic news, and international business affairs.

Page 63. " a taxi down to Chelsea "


Townhouses on 23rd Street in Chelsea
GNU Free Documentation LicenseTownhouses on 23rd Street in Chelsea - Credit: Beyond My Ken

 Chelsea is a neighbourhood on the West Side of Manhattan in New York. It is primarily residential, consisting of townhouses built around the 1830s, and has recently become a centre of New York’s art world, with many galleries located in renovated warehouses and new purpose-built venues. Changez later describes the art galleries of Chelsea as 'an insider's world - the chic heart of this city' (p.64).


Page 66. " a small music venue on the Lower East Side "

The Lower East Side is a neighbourhood located in the southeast corner of Manhattan Island. It was for a long time an immigrant, working-class neighbourhood, famous for its tenement blocks and large Jewish community. However, it has been experiencing recent gentrification, due to the proximity and influence of the more upmarket East Village, and as a result has been placed on a list of America’s Most Endangered Places.

Page 66. " a French restaurant in the meatpacking district "

A  converted warehouse in the meatpacking district
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA converted warehouse in the meatpacking district - Credit: La Citta Vita
The meatpacking district is on the western side of Manhattan Island, just below the neighbourhood of Chelsea. Consisting of old warehouses, it was home to 250 slaughterhouses at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the 1980s the area was populated by prostitutes, drug dealers and sex traffickers, and the derelict warehouses became sex and gay clubs, often under Mafia protection. However, from the 1990s onwards the area experienced a revival, and is now home to fashion boutiques and upmarket restaurants. In 2004 it was described by New York magazine as New York’s ‘most fashionable neighbourhood’.

Page 66. " a loft party in TriBeCa "

TriBeCa Park and West Broadway
Public DomainTriBeCa Park and West Broadway - Credit: Jim Henderson
 TriBeCa is a neighbourhood on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, one of New York’s most expensive and desirable areas. The name is a condensed version of ‘The Triangle Below Canal Street’, as the area is bordered by Canal Street, West Street and Broadway. It is largely composed of old textile buildings which have been converted into flats, many of them spacious lofts, and has a high number of famous residents.

Page 66. " the weekend before I left for Manila "

Manila by night, viewed from across Manila Bay
Creative Commons AttributionManila by night, viewed from across Manila Bay - Credit: Vanessa David
 Manila is the capital city of the Philippines, located on the shores of Manila Bay. It has a population of 1.6 million and is the second largest city in the Philippines. Settled by the Spanish in 1557, it was a major trade centre and remains one of the busiest seaports in the world. It has a vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle, compounded by the large number of varying religious buildings, many of them impressive cathedrals, which have existed since freedom of worship was passed in the Philippines. One of the city’s major industries is tourism – it attracts around 1 million visitors every year.

Page 67. " a picnic lunch in Central Park "


Central Park viewed from the Rockefeller Centre
Public DomainCentral Park viewed from the Rockefeller Centre - Credit: Piotr Kruczek


 Central Park is one of New York’s most iconic landmarks, and the most visited urban park in the USA. Covering a total 843 acres in the centre of Manhattan, it is 2.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide. It features lakes, reservoirs and a zoo, is bordered by some of the city’s major hotels and museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Guggenheim Museum, stages outdoor summer concerts and other events, and is visited by some 25 million visitors every year.


Page 67. " my family would go up to Nathia Gali "

Miranjani, the highest peak in Nathia Gali
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMiranjani, the highest peak in Nathia Gali - Credit: Khalid Mahmood
 Nathia Gali is a hill station in the northeast of Pakistan. It is part of an area termed the Galiaath, so-called for the number of hill stations (or ‘galis’) there. It serves as a holiday resort for several of Pakistan’s most notable families, and is also popular amongst tourists seeking cool weather, abundant wildlife and scenic hikes.

Page 73. " I expected to find a city like Lahore – or perhaps Karachi "


Mohatta Palace in Karachi
Public DomainMohatta Palace in Karachi - Credit: Shahid1024

Kemari Harbour in Karachi
Creative Commons AttributionKemari Harbour in Karachi - Credit: Faisal Saeed
 Karachi is situated on the southeastern coast of Pakistan and known as the country’s gateway city. It is the largest city and main seaport and financial centre of Pakistan, trading out into the Arabian Sea. The population of the city is between 13 and 15 million, which makes it one of the largest cities in the entire world, and it is known locally as the ‘City of Lights’ for its liveliness, spread across all elements of Pakistani cultural and economic life.


Page 73. " the 1950s America depicted in such films as Grease "

Released in 1978, Grease is one of the best-loved musical films ever. It is regularly voted top of lists of musicals, and at the time of its release was the best-selling film of its genre. Set at the end of the 1950s, it tells the story of a high-school romance between two lead characters played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. For an idea of the 1950s America Changez refers to, just watch the trailer!

Page 75. " the local A&R scene "

A&R’ is a term commonly used in the music industry, standing for Artists and Repertoire. This is part of a record label which scouts out new artists, oversees the recording process and markets the record. People who work in A&R need a clear understanding of the market they are targeting and as such are often themselves young musicians or music journalists.

Page 75. " prolonged exposure to LSD "

LSD is the most commonly used hallucinogenic drug, which provides the user with a ‘trip’ of exaggerated emotions and hallucinations. Long-term use creates a danger of flashbacks, and other short-term effects, like dilated pupils, may also be compounded, as Changez is suggesting here.