I was in New York recently where I met up with a friend for lunch.
We met up outside his office and entered to building together for a short tour that culminated on the rooftop.
I’m not sure if it was the jet-lag, as I was still fresh from my trans-Atlantic travel, or if it was genuine emotion but I couldn’t stop smiling and exclaiming, “I’m in New York ahh!!”
I like to think it was the latter.
And I think my friend thought the same, too, because he suggested I read “Here is New York” by E. B. White. He gave no other preface other than I remind him of a character in the work that has been called “the greatest love poem to New York.”
I haven’t been able to read the work in it’s entirety yet but I’ve included an excerpt below to the part I believe my friend was referencing.
“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 boen somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three 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 Italy to set up a small grocery store in a slum, or a young girl 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 eyes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company.”
— E. B. White, “Here is New York”
After finding this passage, I understand what my friend was trying to say.
When some people come in contact with New York, it just feels right.