As Jones. Schmidt, and Baker were finding their way to 'The City," New York in the 1950's was the center of the universe. The most important city in the most important country. It still had that Damon Runyan feel about it.
The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world, in 1957 the NY Yankees had won their 3rd of 6 consecutive World Series, Irish, Jews, and Italians were the largest ethnic groups in the city.
Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams dominated the theatre world. Rogers and Hammerstein were kings of Broadway along with Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, and Frank Loesser.
The Russian acting teacher Stanislavsky was introducing "The Method" which became something of a "religion" amongst students of the theatre. Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio was in full bloom.
The Beat Generation had made Greenwhich Village their headquarters. BEBOP sounds wafted from clubs. You could go uptown to the Three Deuces or the Open Door and hear Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis.
The Village again became important to the bohemian scene during the 1950s, when the Beat Generation focused their energies there. Fleeing from what they saw as oppressive social conformity, a loose collection of writers, poets, artists, and students (later known as the Beats) and the Beatniks, moved to Greenwich Village. Jack Kerouc was holed up in the Village writing On The Road. the Beat poets were in full swing.The Village (and surrounding New York City) would later play central roles in the writings of, among others, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Marianne Moore, Maya Angelou, Rod McKuen, and Dylan Thomas, who collapsed while drinking at the White Horse Tavern on November 5, 1953.