What Killed New York’s Literary Nightlife?

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Fritz Foord, Wolcott Gibbs, Frank Case and Dorothy Parker (seated left to right) and Alan Campbell, St. Clair McKelway, Russell Maloney and James Thurber (standing left to right) at a cocktail party at the Hotel Algonquin held to celebrate the success of Case's book Photo: Unknown/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Was it the smoking ban, which forced the city's chain-smoking writers out into the rain? Or was it the Internet, which "obviated young writers’ need for companionship, gossip and consolation"? Was it the Kindle, which prevents us from knowing "what young attractive women are reading"? Or was it Brooklyn and its cheap(er) rents and sometimes cheaper bars? New York Times book critic Dwight Garner might never know for sure, because he prefers to drink in Manhattan