Friday, February 5, 2010

Essay: "Here Is New York." EB White (3). 1948.

One-minute review: Impressions of New York City by the well-known writer of children’s books and for

The New Yorker magazine.

Ideas (continued):

“On week ends in summer the town empties. I visit my office on a Saturday afternoon. No phone rings, no one feeds the hungry in-baskets, no one disturbs the papers; it is a building of the dead, a time of awesome suspension.”

“The collision and the intermingling of these millions of foreign-born people representing so many races, creeds and nationalities, make New York a permanent exhibit of the phenomenon of One World.”

“To a New Yorker, the city is both changeless and changing.”

“Men go to saloons to gaze at televised events instead of to think long thoughts.”

New York has changed in tempo and in temper during the years I have known it. There is greater tension, increased irritability. You encounter it in many places, in many faces. The normal frustrations of modern life are here multiplied and amplified—a single run of a crosstown bus contains for the driver, enough frustration and annoyance to carry him over the edge of sanity: the light that changes always an instant too soon, the passenger that bangs on the shut door, the truck that blocks the only opening, the coin that slips to the floor, the question asked at the wrong moment. There is greater tension and there is greater speed.”

To be concluded.

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

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