“On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.”

E.B. White, Here is New York

I’m nearing my first decade in New York and I never actually read the full E.B. White essay until a few days ago—which is funny because E.B. White moved to a part of Maine that’s near and dear to my heart and I’ve had a few encounters with his descendants (who’re some of the most talented boat builders in the world).

Somehow, White’s essay is gestating in my brain and made more pregnant by listening to the audiobook of Matthew Crawford’s Shopclass as Soulcraft on a recent drive. Crawford’s book is what you get when someone from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago takes an Aristotelean argument to the case for working with your hands, excellence, and how it binds communities together.

I’m not exactly sure if this love child between New York and wrenching on motorcycles will be well-formed or still-born, but it’s one of those times when a bunch of things have definitely collided in my brain.

Really starting to pull together a lot of pieces at Kitchensurfing—new features, the right data structure, and a f*ing exciting roadmap.

Borahm did some beautiful design work on our new listings pages.

Really starting to pull together a lot of pieces at Kitchensurfing—new features, the right data structure, and a f*ing exciting roadmap.

Borahm did some beautiful design work on our new listings pages.

NY Times: In mid-December, Steve Duncan and Erling Kagge led a five-day journey through tunnels, sewers and other underground spaces beneath the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens.

NY Times: In mid-December, Steve Duncan and Erling Kagge led a five-day journey through tunnels, sewers and other underground spaces beneath the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens.

The Clock in Grand Central Station - New York City

Grand Central Station’s Crown Jewel, NY Times

The Clock in Grand Central Station - New York City

Grand Central Station’s Crown Jewel, NY Times

“The city [New York] has enlisted six deep-sea divers who are living for more than a month in a sealed 24-foot tubular pressurized tank complete with showers, a television and a Nerf basketball hoop, breathing air that is 97.5 percent helium and 2.5 percent oxygen, so their high-pitched squeals are all but unintelligible. They leave the tank only to transfer to a diving bell that is lowered 70 stories into the earth.”
“Street fairs supposedly help communities by giving a lot of money. I don’t think you can ever find a dime that they ever got from them. They’re supposed to do unique things. They’re all the same.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Joe Ades, The Gentleman Grafter (Vanity Fair)

“Come up a yard. You’ll see better. Come on, don’t worry. I won’t ask you for money. You’re quite safe. You don’t have to buy to watch. You may already have one of these—I’ve sold thousands. I’ll give you a refresher course … ”

Joe Ades, The Gentleman Grafter (Vanity Fair)

“Come up a yard. You’ll see better. Come on, don’t worry. I won’t ask you for money. You’re quite safe. You don’t have to buy to watch. You may already have one of these—I’ve sold thousands. I’ll give you a refresher course … ”

“If I want fancy I’ll come to New York, where they can pull off fancy much better [than Baltimore]. As far as Baltimore’s concerned, we do edgy much better. In New York there’s no such thing as a real biker bar; everything’s influenced by fashion and the very fact that you move there proves that you believe in irony.”
“As of this writing, Cambridge seems to be the intellectual capital of the world. I realize that seems a preposterous claim. What makes it true is that it’s more preposterous to claim about anywhere else. American universities currently seem to be the best, judging from the flow of ambitious students. And what US city has a stronger claim? New York? A fair number of smart people, but diluted by a much larger number of neanderthals in suits”
Paul Graham, Cities and Ambition

Good Question

rach (orig gillianmae):

from the LA Times:

Is it possible to lead a dedicated literary life in the billionaire-filled, media-crazed New York of today? To be heedless of the material world as you burrow into novels and ideas the way the old Partisan Review gang did in the ’40s and ’50s, to come up with notions that rock the intellectual landscape? And if so, who exactly is still paying attention?

New York isn’t the city it used to be and I think the answer is no—not for young people. I’d try New Orleans or Buenos Aires.

The original Penn Station.

"Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed."—NY Times Editorial, October 30,1963
The original Penn Station.

"Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed."

—NY Times Editorial, October 30,1963