Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Here is New York

My friend Katherine, who followed her dream of living in NYC all the way from Australia, read this passage from E.B. White and sent it along to me. It makes us both cry:

There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter--the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last--the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion. And whether it is a farmer arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh yes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company. . . .

"Here Is New York" was written in 1948 and appears in Essays of E.B. White, Harper, 1977

3 comments:

Tina said...

Hi mary - I also write a blog - started it my first days in the city after moving from Seattle. The Only Livin' Girl in New York http://elonanit.blogspot.com - anyway Here is New York made me cry too - many times and I recommend it to EVERYONE who visits it really is such an amazing peice of writing. Anyway I love your blog!! And will link it with mine. Best, Tina

Terry B said...

A beautiful post, Mary. Even though I've never lived in New York, I feel like a native New Yorker [although after reading Mr. White's eloquent piece, I now know better and embrace my outsider status]. Every time I visit, I feel both absolutely alive and energized and completely, calmly, happily at home. Thanks for sharing this wonderful excerpt.

Laura Lazar Kearns said...

If you take the subway a lot you'll see this actually on the trains...featured Poetry...