‘Spy Sites of NYC’ Book Launch with H. Keith Melton & Robert Wallace in the KGB Espionage Museum


There are more spies working in New York City today than ever before, according to H. Keith Melton, the espionage advisor on The Americans, and Robert Wallace, the former chief of the CIA’s Office of Technical Service. But, as the authors show in their fascinating new book SPY SITES OF NEW YORK CITY: A GUIDE TO THE REGION’S SECRET HISTORY (Georgetown University Press; February 2020), the city has always been a hotbed of international intrigue. From George Washington’s downtown spy ring to Alger Hiss meeting his handler in a Park Slope movie theater to the hundreds of agents using the UN as a cover at this very moment. Espionage is as much a part of the city as honking horns and delayed subways. In the book, Melton and Wallace chronicle centuries of spying in the five boroughs and beyond, walking the reader through surprising meeting places, secret drop-sites, and the everyday bars, hotels, and park benches where so much shadowy history has been made.

The 200+ entries in the book, with easy-to-follow maps and riveting photos, tell not only of the history of spycraft and the art of reconnaissance, but the story of a city growing from a small settlement in Lower Manhattan in the 1700s to the sprawling metropolis it is today. It shares the little-known stories of Ernest Hemingway, JD Salinger, Bill Blass, and their undercover intelligence work, and juicy items about the cloak-and-dagger deeds that took place at Tavern on the Green, The Strand and Rockefeller Center.

After reading SPY SITES OF NEW YORK CITY, you will likely be left with an eerie feeling that the waiter, your cabbie, or the lady on the train playing Candy Crush aren’t who they appear to be.