“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.
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