“But the city makes up for its hazards and its deficiencies by supplying its citizens with massive doses of a supplementary vitamin-the sense of belonging to something unique, cosmopolitan, mighty and unparalleled. . . .”
― E.B. White, Here Is New York
Here is New York is only 7500 words but 7500 perfectly chosen and combined words that effectively captures the love that millions of New Yorkers feel for their city. Even if you aren’t a die-hard New Yorker like me, it is one of the most tightly and well-written pieces of prose that I’ve ever read. I’m sure you will agree.
Here’s a PDF copy of the essay. Check it out for yourself.
I already gushed about the opening paragraph, here. Rather eerie is the following excerpt. Keep in mind the essay was written in 1948, over two decades before the twin towers were completed.
“The subtlest change in New York is something people don’t speak much about but that is in everyone’s mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.”