One day Tom and Nick take a train ride together to New York and on the way they stop at a shabby garage owned by George Wilson, where Nick is introduced to the owner's wife, Myrtle (Tom's mistress). Nick accompanies Tom and Myrtle to their Manhattan love-nest, where Myrtle presides over a pretentious party that includes her sister and several others. Nick finds the evening increasingly unbearable but does not leave until Tom breaks Myrtle's nose in a spat.
Nick learns that his next-door neighbor, who throws lavish parties hosting hundreds of people, is the wealthy, mysterious Jay Gatsby. Nick receives an invitation one weekend and attends, finding the party wild and fun. However, he also discovers the guests do not know much about Gatsby and that rumors about the man are contradictory. Nick runs into Jordan Baker, who invites him to join her. While looking for Gatsby, they run into a man with large "Owl Eye" glasses admiring Gatsby's collection of books. Later, a man strikes up a conversation with Nick, claiming to recognize him from the US Army's Third Infantry Division during the Great War. Nick mentions his difficulty in finding the host, and the man reveals himself to be Gatsby. An odd, yet close, friendship between Nick and Gatsby begins.
One day, Gatsby drives Nick to New York City. Gatsby presents a clichéd description of his life as a wealthy dilettante and war hero to an incredulous Nick, but the latter is convinced when Gatsby displays a war medal and photograph. In New York, Gatsby introduces a bemused Nick to underworld figure Meyer Wolfsheim (based on Arnold Rothstein). Nick then sees Tom and tries to introduce Gatsby, but finds that Gatsby has disappeared.