I’ve only been to New York City once in my life, long ago, and I would love to return, especially after reading E.B. White’s Here is New York! E.B. White is a wonderful author and one of my favorites. I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by him, and this little book was another one I thoroughly enjoyed.
It is a love letter to New York and it captured the city of my imagination and my long ago experience there. The book was written 70 years ago, so of course much has changed, but even so, I think he described in many beautiful passages, the essence of the city.
There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and 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 the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something…Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.
…New York blends the gift of privacy with the excitement of participation; and better than most dense communities it succeeds in insulating the individual (if he wants it, and almost everybody wants or needs it) against all enormous and violent and wonderful events that are taking place every minute.
This book is a must-read for anyone who loves New York, or who is interested in it, or who has always wanted to visit there, or who visited it long ago and needs to return!
I read this book as part of my year-long celebration of turning 70 years old.