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Perceptive, Funny, And Nostalgic, EB White S Stroll Around Manhattan Remains The Quintessential Love Letter To The City, Written By One Of America S Foremost Literary Figures The New York Times Has Named Here Is New York One Of The Ten Best Books Ever Written About The Metropolis, And The New Yorker Calls It The Wittiest Essay, And One Of The Most Perceptive, Ever Done On The City Every time I read White s gorgeous love letter to New York City, I m filled with nostalgia for my own town and I tend to wake the next day with a honed sense of observational candor As many have noted in recent years, his heavy observation of NYC s vulnerability can be read almost as a prophesy of September 11, 2001, though this was written in 1949 when thoughts about the end of World War II and atomic bombs were still abundant The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions The intimation of mortality is part of New York now in the sounds of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest editions.It s worth noting that this edition, published in 1999, has an excellent introduction by White s stepson, Roger Angell Also, this essay is published in its entirety in The Essays of E.B White. 3 observant and lyrical reflections stars Fourth Most Fun Review Written in 2018 Award For the past thirteen days we wandered NYC This was my first trip and my partner s third I was saturated with art, musicals, opera, piano bars and even went to see some obscure metal We explored two beautiful botanical gardens and went to all the large art galleries, museums and of course I had to see Lady Liberty I loved exploring Hasidic neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, ate delicious Greek and Italian in Queens and tasty Asian and French in Chelsea and Soho In our little rented apartment we cooked breakfasts, listened to Bach, Coltrane and Lana Del Rey I watched Shark Tank and Beachfront Bargain Hunt to excess I chatted with New Yorkers of many stripes, genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations An upper East Jewish woman who tried to pick me up until my partner came out with teas, a young black woman doing her masters in museum administration, a puerto rican lawyer just to name a few They all shared parts of themselves and their relationship to New York They asked me no questions and through them, my lengthy walks through all boroughs except Staten Island I began to get a glimmer of understanding of what makes New York great but also highly flawed Throughout each day I vacillated between wanting to extend my stay here to wanting to hop on the next plane, grab my kitty and escape to our quiet country home on the lake I read zero on this trip and I posted this on Goodreads and Julie G, a vivacious GR friend DEMANDED I read this lengthy essay by E.B White of Charlotte s Web and Trumpet of the Swan fame He wrote this essay in 1949 and he wrote about New York of his youth in the 1920s and how it had changed when he went back for a commissioned visit in 1949 This essay is beautifully written and much of it especially in terms of the inequalities, the diversities, the wonderful and rotten of New York come shining through What I most related to was the ambivalence the author felt as this was something I struggled a great deal with I was overstimulated much of the time and could feel not just excitement but a great deal of irritability, disdain and distance I told my partner that nowhere else have I felt like I was in a bubble that was disconcerting and de realizing as well as in a strange way soothing New York made me both happy and sad and very often both at the same time Here is a bit of strange foreshadowing remember this was written in 1949 The subtlest change in New York is something people don t speak much about but that is in everyone s mind The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions I very much enjoyed my trip to the Big Apple but I am in no hurry to go back. I was born in New York City in 1951, moved out when I was two, and grew up in what at the time was a sleepy little village half an hour north, instantly turning my father into a member of what E B White calls the second New York there are three New Yorks pp 25 26 a commuter In 1972, I moved back permanently, becoming a member of what E B Andy White calls the third New York, made up of people from somewhere else in a quest for something I came to be an actor and evolved, out of frustration and exhaustion, into a writer and a member of White s first New York 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 By rights New York should have destroyed itself long ago, he writes And, toward the end of this essay, in a stroke of prescience that gives me goose bumps The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions The intimation of mortality is part of New York now in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headline of the latest edition 54 How did he see this in 1948 But I guess I shouldn t be surprised His collection of essays One Man s Meat is full of such foresight But since 9 11 didn t end us, my guess is nothing can.Although Here is New York was written seventy one years ago, White still describes my beloved hometown perfectly You can be alone here if you choose, and everything possible is available for your enjoyment or ire New York is a massive global city, yet there are tiny neighborhoods every bit as distinct as in small towns daily, when I am coming home from my early morning Central Park dog walks, I wave to one of my neighbors through his second floor window where he sits and draws Perhaps landmarks have changed since 1948, but the essence of New York could not be better expressed or beautifully written than it is in this little masterpiece of an essay.A postscript In the 1999 edition of this book, there is an introduction by White s stepson, renowned writer Roger Angell Remarking on some of the changes White would have seen had he visited the city then, he says, Fifth Avenue, he would find, has been Trumped This sounds so innocent to my ear now in 2019 when the country and, indeed, the whole world has been Trumped New York City is a place for everyone even con artists like Trump he belonged here Everyone who did business with him knew he lied and cheated Banks refused to make him loans Contractors worked at their peril because he was famous for refusing to pay people But he belongs to New York City because everybody belongs here And even in 1948, E B White communicated that we are a kind of wild Noah s Arc of humanity The collision and the intermingling of these millions of foreign born people representing so many races and creeds make New York a permanent exhibit of the phenomenon of one world 47 That our diversity can be so rich and delicious, yet it foisted upon the nation a man who would now call that diversity dangerous I just don t understand I wonder what Andy White would write now Oh, how I miss him. I have a fascination with NYC It started as a small child, wanting to live there I don t want to live there any but I try to visit as much as I can This book is the perfect book to give me my fix It s truly shows the authors love of New York I ve always felt New Yorkers were a different kind of person and this book brings that to life It talks about all the odd, wonderful things that make NYC what it is This is the authors love letter to New York Thanks to Stephanie for getting me to read this one After reading her wonderful review I knew I had to check this one out.