She's brilliant at depicting the latter, and in bringing the city to life as it was at a very special moment of its history, when it was still possible to live as a bohemian (bourgeois or other) in Manhattan. I wish I'd read it with a map, and it would be great to have a 'virtual walking tour' of the New York she is writing about.
I note in passing that she obviously moved in Communist Party circles, was involved in the campaign to save the Rosenbergs from execution, relishes the very end of the 1940s as a time of hope, and is excited and enthusiastic about the creation of the State of Israel as a sign of that hope.
There's a lot of material about growing up the children of immigrants that I recognise...she wasn't just Black in New York, she was West Indian, which I think makes for a very different sort of Black experience. It would be good to know more about that.