In 1979 Billy McEwan is drifting through his last year of college (or, at any rate, his last year as an undergraduate.) But then he meets a troubled young woman named Tammi Honig. He does not save her life, but perhaps she saves his. Thanks to her, he enjoys (or experiences, at least) many adventures on New York's Upper West Side, back in the days when the City was still dangerous, dirty, and romantic, back in the days of punk rock, Thai stick, and Checker cabs. Indeed, his adventures eventually lead him beyond the boundaries of the Upper West Side. He doesn't just venture south of West 72nd Street or north of West 125th Street: at various times, he finds himself as far afield as Boston, Atlanta, and even the San Fernando Valley.