So, due to the self-referential nature of the ending of the book, and the insinuation that at least some of it takes place in our actual world, I decided to visit some of the sites in New York in case Steve King had gotten really clever on us. I was pretty dissapointed.
First clue he didn't get clever - he describes looking down 46th street and seeing the U.N. building, which you can't see (you can see it looking down 43rd).
Now, for the corner of 46th and 2nd - from the descriptions, the vacant lot has to be on either the NE or SE corner. The NE corner hold an office tower (2 Dag Hammerskold Plaza) with a Chinese Grocery as the ground floor storefront. The SE corner holds a condo complex called the Envoy (300 E. 46th), owned by Helmsley-Spear (of Leona fame).
Now, one building down on the south side of 46th is the "Turtle Bay Towers," a co-op builing owned by Rockrose (another huge NYC landlord/developer). Sounds promising. But it couldn't have been a vacant lot in 1977, as its Certificate of Occupancy was issued in 1958 (the records don't go back that far for the Envoy).
Another noteworthy building nearby - Spark's Steak House, between 2nd and 3rd - which was where John Gotti killed Paul Castellano to gain control of the Gambino Crime Family in 1985 (I think). Why yes, I am a licensed New York City Sightseeing Guide.
Walking up 46th, there's no Choo-choo Mama's on 52nd, no Tower of Power records, no Manhattan Resturaunt of the Mind on 54th. There are also no preperty records that show a "Sombra" corporation anywhere in New York.
What's annoying is that old Steve, just by moving the blocks a bit, could have given all of us (or at least me) a thrill. On the SE corner of 53rd and 2nd, there's a fenced-off vacant lot. And across the street, there's a burnt-out (or at least abandoned) building - perhaps the Manhattan Restaraunt of the Mind, post-Balazar?
But the biggest one is this. On the NW corner of 47th and 1st (where the homeless shelter was supposed to be, there's a Park across the street so it couldn't have been there), is the Trump World Tower. This is the biggest eyesore in all Manhattan if you ask me. Why? Because it's 70 stories high and nothing but a black piece of Glass. Which started construction in (get this) 1999. If Steve had just said 47th and 1st instead of 46th and 2nd, he would have seriously freaked me out.
Just the other day I was driving past a VW with "powered by vegetable oil" in black letters all over it. It also had the number 32 on the back, if anyone happens to know the driver. I can't imagine there's too many VW's around like that.