“No air moves in or out of the room, yet I am curiously affected by emanations from the immediate surroundings. I am twenty-two blocks from where Rudolph Valentino lay in state, eight blocks from where Nathan Hale was executed, five blocks from the publisher’s offic where Ernest Hemingway hit Max Eastman on the nose…”
In this section of “Here Is New York,” White is able to convey one major aspect of New York that makes it so unique. White is discussing how everywhere in New York it seems that there are marks and feelings from the past. White is able to express this idea through specific individuals or circumstances. He uses the close proximity of famous events and moments in time to explore the feeling of perpetually being linked to the past in New York. It is amazing to think that so many things could have happened just steps a way from where you could be sitting in New York. In reading this portion of the essay, the reader is captured by all of the famous names and moments in history. White’s use of lists and run-on sentences help to create the sense that the list of people and events that occured is endless.
“The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal concentrate on earth, the poem whose magic is comprehensible to millions of permanent residents but whose full meaning will always remain illusive.”
In this excerpt, White is so effortlessly able to connect New York City to the beauty and simplicity of a poem. I found this portion to be absolutely beautiful. White discusses how like a poem, NYC is able to maintain so many different walks of life in one small island. A poem is concise and subtle just as New York is to White. Although there is so much going on at once in New York, there is a unity in it at all. White’s first sentence explores how this unity is created and found in NYC. Further on in this passage, White discusses the “full meaning” of New York that many will never truly get to understand. By starting out broad and saying that NYC is almost like the great equalizer and that one is able to find pieces of all different types of people amongest its burrows, White is expresses how much people do love New York. However, by continuing on to explore the true meaning of New York, White is able to add to his theme of the wonder and secrecy of real New Yorks. The people who live and breathe New York, those who don’t get to go home at night.