'“The only city on earth that glitters from afar when you are in it,” said Updike, or something like that, and its true: stand on any street corner and gaze down the avenues, each block milkier than the last, and you will find yourself looking at more places you are not, or could be, or should be, than any other city in the world. Want — or aspiration, or ambition — is built into the very architecture of the place. The absent cradle of the welfare statemay be what lends the city it’s vertiginous late-capitalist thrill, but it’s like driving without shock absorbers: you feel every bump in the road. Even the car horns sound a note of muscular self-furtherance. In London a parp on the horn registers the inquiry “Are you mad?” In Paris, together with a shrug heavenward, it sounds a more philosophical note “The whole world is mad.” In New York, it is more primal, self-expressive. “I’m mad! Get out of my way!”'
— from my article about living in New York for Intelligent Life. The link works this time. Photograph by Jasper James