Saturday, September 10, 2016

Essay: against New York

Back in New York City my initial love for all that it stands for (stood for) seems to have wholly evaporated. Even here in a bookstore cafe, I remain completely unimpressed not with the surface diversity and the ambience—or lack thereof. 

There may be several possibilities to all this: mainly that there is no shortage of cities to compare this one with and that this specific one's grid system doesn't lead to much ambience or, I dare say, much of anything that's worthwhile.

Now, I understand that I'm completely unplugged from this city [1] and so this criticism is entirely unfair and borderline absurd, but bear with me.

In the midtown and village areas, we're talking about the throngs of crowds, the inability to sit anywhere, stand anywhere and the general rush that's not so much awe-inspiring as it is annoying.

Of course, the more astute amongst you might point out my small town mind and how it is now feeble in the face of such an onslaught of the senses. But this criticism is simply wrong. And though a more self-aware writer would dwell on such a fact a little more—I won't. [2]

I'm almost losing the thread of this essay—forgive me. I was speaking of New York. I was saying something about its lack of interesting faces and the outdoor mall quality street life, with grid locked cars to boot. [3] But I won't stoop that low.

Let me instead analyze my own hatred for this most pure of American cities. It could be a result of reading books within the purview of my biases. Yet the fact remains that my annoyance (for the City does not deserve hatred) is only increased with the realization that much of its sophistication is simply an affected speech mechanism without the underlying substance and the airs of being rich in that cosmopolitan manner... this is too much for me. And as if to add insult to injury, all this frustration would normally lead to some good writing, but all I have is this silly analysis. In the end, it's sad to say, that I wish to only know a city of my creation. 

[1] This, of course, means that there's no true connection with the people and with the nooks and crannies of the city and thus makes it less worthwhile. But even with this noted, I think that my knowledge of how much better a city can be is too much to allow me to bear a lesser city than is possible. 

[2] And on the matter of self-awareness, or the lack thereof, neither will I dwell on how I failed in this city, for it seems that given the level of popularity of my writing, that failure is global. 

[3] Even if I prefer this to the asphalt lakes of suburban life, and how every cafe there will necessarily overlook said parking lots.

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