City, City Everywhere…

I am visiting New York, today and tomorrow, meeting with editors and other folk, catching up with old friends. It’s strange to be back in the city after an absence. It continues on without me, obviously. But it’s still fascinating to return and see the traces of previous lives everywhere.

It reminds me of this quote from Our Man In Havana, by Graham Greene: “They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people. Remove those few and a city exists no longer — except as a pain in the memory, like the pain of an amputated leg no longer there.” (183)

It’s a complex sentiment, and the anonymity of today in New York seems to confirm it. But — I have to admit — it’s a terrible similie. Greene could have done better, right?

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