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The main setting for most of the book is New York City, with some important exceptions. The book begins in Sammy's mother's apartment, in Brooklyn NY, on Ocean Avenue. The action quickly moves to lower Manhattan, which is both the location of Sammy's employer, Empire, Distributors of Novelties and the nearby apartment of Sammy's friends, the so-called, Palooka Studios. Later, important action takes place in the Empire State Building, then the tallest building in the world, on 34th St., and at the Saks family house, in Greenwich Village. Additionally, some action takes place in lower Manhattan. Another scene is the apartment that Joe and Sammy rent and the new apartment on the West Side that Joe prepares for his brother Thomas and him. Other scenes are at Manhattan locations such as the Hotel Trevi, other hotels, and in the outer borough of Queens, where the World's Fair takes place and later is an abandoned site. An important turning point scene takes place at James Love's house on the New Jersey shore.