Park. Public park near the newspaper office that is presumably a little nook in Central Park, given the reference to a Mexican War obelisk at one end. This location provides the occasion for a scene in which Miss Lonelyhearts and a colleague, Ned Gates, find a man, who they believe to be a homosexual, sitting on a turned-down toilet cover in a comfort station. Miss Lonelyhearts, in whose mind the stranger represents all the desperate, broken-hearted, disillusioned letter writers who seek his advice, decides to brutalize the old man. The park, then, in addition to being a refuge for him, is also a place of turmoil.
Post-Dispatch city room. Miss Lonelyhearts’ workplace, where some thirty letters from readers await his reply daily. It is not a particularly congenial place, not only because of the steady dose of his readers’ misery but also because his superior, Willie Shrike, orchestrates many practical jokes at Miss Lonelyhearts’ expense.
Delehanty’s speakeasy. Prohibition-era bar that is a gathering place for the lonely; located close to the newspaper office and small park where Miss Lonelyhearts frequently stops to escape the concrete jungle of New York. The speakeasy is located in the cellar of a brownstone building, which differs from its neighbors in that it has an armored door. It is a gathering place for other news reporters from the Post-Dispatch. Willie Shrike, who derides Miss Lonelyhearts’ advice but nevertheless urges him to try to increase the paper’s circulation with his piece, is a frequent visitor. It is also the setting where Peter Doyle–an advice seeker like his wife Fay–is introduced to Miss Lonelyhearts. In the end, it is on the stairs leading to Miss Lonelyhearts’ room that the gun in Doyle’s hands explodes, and both roll part of the way down, the Christ-obsessed Miss Lonelyhearts and the nearly redeemed Doyle caught in deadly embrace.
Although New York City does not appear to be quite as sordid as Los Angeles is in Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust (1939), the picture of Peter Doyle dragging his lame foot up and down stairways as he reads gas meters is a reminder that the American Dream was not for everyone, even during the so-called Roaring Twenties.