( Originally Published 1924 )
NEW YORK! A fold that has multiplied one hundred and twenty times the original size in a hundred years. A fold that has increased itself not from within, of its own kind, but from without, from people of all nations, coming from all directions, black men from Africa, yellow men from Asia, Slays from Russia, Celts, Teutons, Gauls, Romans, Iberians; people from the yellow sand deserts of Syria, people from the green and snow-clad mountains of Switzerland, Lowland people, Highland people, the worst and the best of every race, of every nation. The strongest and the weakest, the most virtuous and the most vicious. Running away from the home of their crimes, others running to where they could practise the virtues, serve God in their own fashion, interpret the "word" according to their own lights. Hating one another, loving one another, agreeing and disagreeing in a hundred different languages, a hundred different dialects, a hundred different religions. Crowding one another, and fusing against their wills slowly with one another, without ever becoming a compact whole. The weakest, like base metals, melting first, while the strong, like gold, only becoming tarnished from the heat that had melted the others.
New York! A huge big sieve, into which all was thrown to be sieved, until each falls according to its own size and its own weight, gravitating toward where it belongs, then again resifted and resorted to where one may again fit bet-ter with the others.
New York! A city requiring sixty thousand bushels of wheat to feed it one day. Several thousand head of cattle are hardly sufficient to feed it one meal. New York! Which requires forty thousand people to amuse its population in theaters where are seated over a million people nightly. The city toward which lead a thousand roads, by water and by rail, above ground and underground, by numerous criss-crossing roads. The whole city one of steady wayfarers who spend their days in toil, and throbbing from one place to another. New York, not a city, but a world. With suburbs as distant as Chicago and San Francisco depending on it; feeding, decrying, denouncing, yet depending on it, nevertheless. New York, an oasis, a well in the desert, toward which stretch all the heads of all the continents, like thirsty camels in a desert for water; subjected, crushed by an all-potent, invisible power; by a vortex which rules and attracts by its own terrific and terrifying motions in all directions. New York, swirling with undercurrents that rise to be surface currents, and vortices encompassing a hundred other vortices, crunching, crying, crushing, yelling, overpowering all that is within its reach ; and its reach is as wide and as far as its fame has spread.
Like a phenix, it has risen a hundred times from its ashes. Like Lazarus it has risen from the dead, after pestilence has succeeded pestilence; a hundred times ruled by mobs, and ruled and overruled by greater mobs that crushed the preceding ones. London and Paris and Rome were world cities when New York was a village; world cities when New York had fifty thousand inhabitants, when New York was a village in the wilderness of a new continent, surrounded by covetous enemies with tomahawks and blunderbusses, and within ear-shot of the cry of the wolf and the lugubrious plaint of the coyote at night. The Old World had experienced all the arts, all the sciences, when New York was still burning witches, Catholic priests were tortured on the wheel in the open squares and executed by lighting the fire under the auto da fe, negroes suspected of insurrection ; when Peter Stuyvesant ruled that the Jews were an encumbrance of the earth and were therefore not to be permitted to live within the city, Jest greater evil be-fall it. The nineteenth century knocked at the gates of time when the celebrated Doctors' Mob, upon a report that a number of dead bodies had been dug up by the medical students from the Potter's Field and the Negro Burial Grounds, stormed the New York Hospital and destroyed and burnt all that was within, until jail was the only safe place for the doctors of the city. Neither Clinton, Hamilton, nor Jay could argue the angry crowd away from the jails. They wanted to storm them to capture the doctors. To disperse them the militia had to fire on them. That same crowd later attacked fiercely the house of Sir John, the British minister, mistaking the name on the sign to mean "Surgeon," and never for many months afterward asking the advice of physicians, even when the pestilence had broken out.
New York, with its hundreds of theaters, the first of which was mobbed and destroyed by the people because of an unpleasant remark about the insurrectionists made by one of the actors; and the second one again destroyed be-cause of a mob opposing Macready, the English actor, and favoring Forrest, their own. And to-day New York, the city of thousands of physicians, of thousands of theaters; of hundreds of Catholic churches and Hebrew synagogues,
One could still put his fingers on houses which were built when Canal Street was a miniature sea in the heart of the city, with food for anglers; when about its unwalled low shores, crowded by merry picnickers in their freshly laundered, colored Dutch garb, sheep and goats pastured leisurely. The Negro Burial Ground on Washington Square was so far away from the heart of the city that there was no expectation that it might ever grow beyond that. And to-day the square is hardly more than the first vertebra of the spine of the city.
While Napoleon was bringing pyramids from Egypt the plow was still broken on the forest stumps where Twenty-second Street now is. Beyond that was the wilderness, inhabited by wild Indians, infested by wolves. Beyond that was the land of the Gnomes and impossible fears. There still are among the living men who remember the Debtors' Prison in City Hall, where the imprisoned used to hang out their old shoes at the window to solicit alms of passers-by. Ah! These New York prisons. One can study the development of the city through the increase of their numbers and size. There was the Brideweil Prison, built by the English on the site where the Liberty Pole once was. They used to come every morning to the jail and call out, "Rebels, turn out your dead!" So sure were they that among the many hundreds imprisoned, where there was hardly room for one tenth that many, would be enough dead during the night to fill the cart ready to haul them to the trench in which they were thrown. The Bridewell Prison, the stones of which, when the jail was torn down, were incorporated into the building which is now the Tombs, the grim Tombs where between its sections once stood the public hanging-place. And there were the Sugar-Houses, compared to which the cells of the Inquisition of Spain were luxurious palaces; for it was a dear buy, the liberty from the English, which the Dutch burghers of the city paid.
And yet the site of the Liberty Pole, around which all aspirations of liberty and independence centered, was never paid for, though it was bought by the city from the descendants of Jacob Spear, who owned it.
New York, built in a hundred styles in that many years. With low windows by the Dutch and high windows by the French, and the cottage-like porches of the English. Smacking here of Italian, there of Greek, raising buildings of Moresque fineness, with laces of stone and elegant arches, and constructing homes and public places as squat and heavy as cannon cupolas on board war-ships. New York! Where only yesterday, because of a superstition against marble, no working-man could be found to put up the marble front of the first American museum, until one had to be released from Sing Sing Prison on the promise that he would perform the work. And how many marble fronts flatten the light now, while there still live men who remember such superstition, such prejudice!
What a city of mobs it was! When they did not like the treaty proposed by the English, then warring with the French, Alexander Hamilton was dragged bodily through the streets and the treaty burned on the commons. When they did not like what Rivington's newspaper contained they wrecked the printing-shop of the paper. When they did not like something or other in the theater they destroyed the theater. What they did not agree with was destroyed. They who had bought liberty so dearly repressed all liberty of the others.
New York, from the Battery to Canal Street, is history; from Canal Street upward, it is real estate. Respect for religion was not raising higher than land values. One can still point out the place at Madison Street near Pearl, Pearl Street which was the first street of the city, one could still point out the place where was the first free school, with Clinton as president of the school movement. There are still girders and stones of the landing of the first ferry between Brooklyn and New York, when Brooklyn was Breukelen, at Peck Slip; in the days when Tompkins Place was a salt meadow, and the celebrated singer Malibran sang at the opera in the Park Theater.
I have met men who still remember Twenty-third Street and thereabouts to the Hudson River as a farm place, where they used to pasture their goats on the free meadows; men who remembered when Potter's Field was in Washington Square, when Twenty-first Street was Love Lane, and when Broadway ended at Astor Place. Who would ever have dreamt then of the potentiality of New York? Less than a hundred years ago financiers could not get backing to clear up the land around Canal Street ; no-body expected the city to expand that far, when at Chambers Street and Broadway the Negro Burial Grounds were far and away, on the exact site where the marble Stewart Building was later erected. It was only in 182o that burials were prohibited below Canal Street, in a fantastic expectation of a greater development of the city from some office-building visionaries.
And Wall Street, the Exchange, now the most powerful exchange in the world, toward which all the gold of the world gravitates, the exchange that conducts the finances of the world, which makes and unmakes wars thousands of miles from its cold, gray stone buildings; Wall Street, whose tentacles reach to the remotest corners of the earth. It originated in the Tontine Coffee-House early in the nineteenth century, by the will of a handful of merchants when the London and Paris bourses and the Berlin and Rome bourses were tremendous contending powers. Who can, after seeing New York and feeling the throb of its pulse, think of more gigantic enterprises, more complicated machineries, under which labor and hiss, live and die, a million other machines? For whosoever becomes part of the city is swirled into its wheels and becomes added power. Who can even dare conceive of the future? When rows of twenty-story buildings grow up in places where only yesterday were rocks; wand-risen castles and palaces, be-fore even the wooden shanties which formerly stood there had had time to disappear; before the hares and ground-hogs had had time to distance themselves and burrow their habitations elsewhere; from whence they shall again be driven away by the noise and crunching vibration of the sharp drill boring into the rocks. It is this febrility of incessant building and growing, of continual hammering and boring, the soaring and burrowing, the speeding and stretching, that gives the city its feverish pulse. The ring of trains, incoming and departing, carrying away and bringing in in one hour more people than houses a large town. Hundreds of boats, headed toward the shore, waiting their turn to be moored, with the flags of all nations unfurled. People of all nations travel thousands of miles for the privilege of knocking at our doors, hoping, if chance be with them, to gain admittance. Like lava flowing down from the top of a volcano, the unending stream of running people in the morning from the outlying districts and suburbs. Like the return of the tide, the unending flow of the people at evening after the day's labor has been done. They gush forth from a hundred streets at once, running, in one compact mass that overcrowds the underground and over-head rail-running conveyances, and fills the boats that cross the rivers, to the north and south and east of the city, into trains winding like illumined snakes; into hundreds of ferry-boats like giant glow-worms, snaking, twirling their way, hooting, yelling, screeching, calling to one another, lest they crowd one the other too closely for the safety of the sardine-packed crowd on their decks.
And at night, New York's streets that are overcrowded in the day are like streets of a dead city at night. Streets deserted in the day whirl with people at night. The Long Island coast, the Jersey coast, miles deep on both sides of the Hudson River—fifty, sixty miles in length—are the bedrooms of New York. A million pillars of light, blinking, like a huge, giant hive in which •every cell is lit. Shadows run to and fro, as behind a curtain, a giant lit curtain that had suddenly been drawn like an apron over the city. And within that hive greater life yet than in the day. Streets that had been so densely populated until night-fall one had to wedge his way through are completely deserted when the day is over. And others where there had been no traffic are now as overwhelmed as the first had been in the morning. For millions of pleasure-seeking people come in daily into the city from the remotest corner of the continent. Like bees they swarm, each for his mouthful of honey to carry back to where he came from; or like wasps they have come only to sting and to carry back their own sting and bitterness with them.
Sixteen twenty-five--the year the first white child, Sarah Rapaelje, was born in what is now New York, the year the first stockade was erected by the servants of the Dutch West Indies Company, almost the year in which Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island of its Indian owners for about twenty-four dollars' worth of baubles.
Where are the beams of the house in which Sarah was born? What is there left of Minuit's home? It was not a city these first settlers had come to build; it was a bazaar —a bazaar at the gateway of a new world; a cluster of houses around a stockade in the low marshes eastward from the Battery, hugging the shore of the East River, close to the wharf ; near to the boats that brought them and were ready to take back the hundred or so of bow-legged, blue-eyed children of Netherlands polders, where they should again erect dikes to save their homes and fields from the ravages of the North Sea.
And now, after three hundred years, New York is still a bazaar. The spirit of the first settlers still hovers over Manhattan Island. But a bazaar the like of which three hundred years of dreams could not have fancied more fantastically.
If bridges and towers were not of steel and stone but of moonlight and sunbeams, what magic wand would have called to life more superb ones in such profusion in such a short time? And as fantastically as they rise they also disappear, to make place for other baubles of millions of tons of iron and of stone that span rivers and kiss the skies, better dreamed out and more daring than the ones before.
More than two million souls live on the sites of the six "Boweries," the farms the Dutch settlers had parceled out for themselves on the meadows along the shore of the East River. On the "Maagde Paatje," rechristened Maiden Lane by the English, where young maidens spread the wash to dry on the greensward of the hill, stand huge buildings, in which the daily trade is greater than the total wealth of the Netherlands in those days.
Over the "Kolch," the fresh-water pond, runs Canal Street and Broadway; and instead of the light boat with lovers on the shimmering waters, electric cars pursue the selfsame path on steel rails extending the whole of the island and crossing over a bridge to another part of the world—terra incognita then to the whites; where the wolves lived next to the tents of the red men.
Of Captain Kidd's house, on what is now Liberty Street, there is not a trace left. But who can pass the street, night or daytime, without visualizing the swaggering pirate lurking from some dark corner? Why, it was only yesterday when, because of him, Arabian gold was current coin in New York. His home was a warehouse stored with rare fabrics of Teheran and Samarkand, brought by pirate ships to be sold to the wives of merchants homing around Battery Place and Bowling Green.
Some old homes still possess Persian rugs bought from Captain Kidd—Persian rugs and carpets, bizarre bric-a-brac, silks and cashmeres from India and brocades and robes woven for Eastern queens. For the women of those days, still musing that they might be on the shorter passage to India, styled such robes in an anticipating spirit.
Man's strivings, man's creative impulse, has had no-where opportunity as in New York. Below all the different characters and temperaments which gravitate from all sides toward New York, another current, though seemingly giving way, rises above everything. A city, in which mob rule in its most violent forms has existed for decades, evolved to be one of the cities, speaking of the largest ones, in which mob rule is the least influential. A city in which the beginnings of education were so adversely received, where the early city fathers fought against anything like a public school, arguing that the only place for a free school was in the almshouse, the children of the poor to be continually at elbow's-length of the destitute who had fallen into the almshouse, it has now the vastest network of free schools in existence. A city where the first college, Columbia College, with its low beginnings in Park Place, was the most scorned institution of learning when the Sorbonne in Paris flourished, and the institutions of learning of England were at their height, New York to-day spends more for learning than either of these countries do, buying learning in unheard-of quantity. A city where the doctors had to fight mob rule, as shown previously, has to-day the most sought-after schools of medicine in existence. A city in which the preaching of the gospel in any other language but Low Dutch was forbidden, where the first sermon in English was preached at the end of the eighteenth' century, listens now to sermons being preached in thirty different languages. A city where the Catholics and the Jews were equally persecuted, those denominations are to-day the greatest powers in the city. Between two intolerant powers, the early intolerance of the Dutch and the later Puritan intolerance of the Anglo-Saxons, one fighting the other, one excluding the other, a hundred others have sprung up and by their sheer numbers compelled the most intolerant burg into the most tolerant city. The early Dutch hated anything that was not Dutch. The early English hated anything that was not English. And yet in spite of these two hatreds people of different religions and different conceptions clustered between the rivers that en-compassed the city.
New York, like no other city, offers the best study of the nations of the world, samples of each being centered in different sections within easy reach of one another. You can go into the Spanish quarter and forget easily you are in an Anglo-Saxon country. You will be in vaulted, Alhambresque Spain while you are there; listening to songs with guitar accompaniments and feeding on food flavored with condiments imported from Spain. More than that, you can be in different provinces of Spain; for the people of these different provinces, on coming here, gather and form folds of their own, until the Spanish district forms in itself a copy of Spain. The people of each province live in the same proximity to one another as they do in their own country. And not only do they live in the same neighborhood, but they lead the same lives, sing their own songs, and speak their own tongue, which is jealously guarded by the older ones in fear lest the younger ones might lose it and thereby lose their identity as Spaniards of a certain province.
You can go into the French district, and live in France while you are there, with Parisians clustering by them-selves nearer to where there is light and gaiety, and the Normans further away on the side streets, withdrawing within themselves as northern people are wont to do. The Bretons, frugal and sober, keep to themselves. The south-ern Frenchmen from Marseilles and Orleans and Tours gather in their own cafes and restaurants to discuss and talk about their gardens at home across the waters, and to sing their own songs, their own provincial love-songs. You will hear talk of Verlaine and Mallarme and Anatole France among the Parisians, and talk of Mistral among the Provencals; and you will, if you know, recognize the Parisian woman as she steps within the door of a cafe or a restaurant.
If you go further, into the Italian colonies, for there are many in the city, you will see the streets of Naples, the sidewalks littered with fruit- and vegetable-stands of all kinds; and the gay Neapolitan call of the fishermen on Mulberry Street is the same gay call of the fishmonger of the Neapolitan Strada. If you walk through Little Italy at night you will hear voices floating through open windows, singing to the accompaniment of guitars the songs of Genoa and Naples, of Rome and Triest, and never for a moment think that you are elsewhere than in a southern Italian city. And there is the same antagonism between the north-ern Italian and the southern one. There is the big, bellowing Calabrian who detests his smaller-sized brother from Sicily, and the Roman-born who has contempt for both of them. The Milanese and Tuscanese consider themselves so far above the other Italians they disdain living in their neighborhood, and have their own quarters elsewhere. Political intrigues, camorras and secret societies, jealousies. and hatreds that frequently break out- in most violent forms, are agitating the Italians here as abroad. And yet what light-heartedness! What magnificent forgetfulness of all worries when night has come!
There is the Russian district, with moody Slays worrying themselves, torturing themselves about this and that. and the other eternal question. Big, heavy-boned, broad--shouldered, sunken-eyed Slays with a mixture of Tartar blood, colorful in their barbaric emotions, powerful in their inert solidarity, more daring because less flighty, more influential because of their resolute steadiness. It was among them here that the overthow of Russia's old regime was planned. And living close to them their gay and lighter cousins, the Czechs and the Croatians and the Slovenes, dancing to lighter tunes and singing lighter songs, ready to sacrifice all their worldly goods to an ideal, carrying their patriotism further than any other nation, further even than the Poles, their immediate neighbors in the city ; the Poles who even in the most adverse circumstances, even in bondage and slavery, still persisted in the belief of being the aristocracy of all nations. "In Poland," they say, "only noblemen are born."
And what is one to say about the Hungarian quarter? Where the children of Attila have kept their own tongue so pure that not a single Anglo-Saxon word has penetrated their speech. You can see them daily. Their homes, in crowded tenement quarters, still retain that individuality which is their own. The color schemes of their decorations and the manner of arranging their furniture and the relation between the older and the younger element, and their quick reactions, stamp them as a kind apart in this maelstrom. The gay Pusta children, cousins of the Turk, who have never been absorbed by any nation and have never succeeded in absorbing any other one, are what they were and will remain so. Watch their lives in their own district, Little Budapest, near the shore of the East River, with gay cafes and sad violin music made by Gipsies of their own country come to amuse them.
Further below them is the Rumanian quarter, a race of men considering themselves superior to all others of the Balkan states because they are the descendants of the old Romans, Trajan's soldiers, who conquered the Dacs of Decebal more than fifteen centuries ago, proud of their tongue because it is still the nearest to Latin of any language; they have their own poets here, their own musicians, uninfluenced by the life and the jazz about them, as if they still lived in Bucharest, which in Europe is known as Little Paris. Their own Gipsies live among the, despised and loved by them; hard-working peasants vainly trying to adapt themselves to a different life, disliking the Hungarians, suspecting the Russians, neighbors at home across the Carpathians and the Pruth, neighbors here across a dividing sidewalk.
The great German population of the city, divided and subdivided when there is peace on the other side, is united when its integrity is attacked or endangered. Slow, careful artisans; slow, careful merchants, with the same Gemutlichkeit as at home, still reading their home papers to their wives and children, still leaning back in their soft, comfortable chairs, in their immaculately clean homes. Neighborhoods may change and switch about them, but they remain where they have once settled. Other peoples may constantly rise and go elsewhere, seeking other quarters, as Bedouins raise their worsted tents in search of better pasture. The Germans remain where they have been, where they are, only expanding slowly but surely as their population increases further and further. The Drangnach Osten, the Urge Eastward, is also the urge of the German population here.
And there are Danish and Finnish, and Norwegian and Serbians, and Slovak and Swedish quarters, each one with its own life, guarding jealously its national characteristics. There is the Syrian district with one principal street and several side streets, one of the oldest streets in the city, with the houses built a hundred years ago. The houses are falling upon themselves, crumbling stone by stone. The rear houses, to which the sun never reaches, swarm with people who live as crowded as they did in the city of Damascus, singing and quarreling in the old Arabic which we have always thought of as a dead language.
And the Chinese quarters, with the picturesque signs and pagoda-style houses, the red-brick walls of streets pasted with announcements and signs and newspapers, on yellow- and green-tinted paper, in that curiously decorative hieroglyphic script in which the laws of Confucius and. Lao-tsze are printed.
The Greeks live in close quarters in proximity with peoples near which they live at home, as if New York were a reproduction of some old Levantine city, Alexandria or Saloniki, with a dash of Stamboul on Madison Street, a block from Washington's first home in this city.
There are over a million and a half Jews in New York. Jews of different nationalities. There are petty quarrels among them, with all the characteristics of all the nations with which they have formerly lived, voluntarily living in Ghettos, though there is no constraint upon them.
And there is the great negro district, where, under the outward tendency to acquire the characteristics of the people they are living with, there is an undercurrent of self-affirmation, of a desire for culture all their own, cultivating qualities inherent in them. There are streets where the white man is as unwelcome in their midst as the colored man was unwelcome, and still is, among white people.
A map of Europe superposed upon the map of New York would prove that the different foreign sections of the city live in the same proximity to one another as in Europe : the Spanish near the French, the French near the Germans, the Germans near the Austrians, the Russians and the Rumanians near the Hungarians, and the Greeks be-hind the Italians. People of western Europe live in the western side of the city. People of eastern Europe live in the eastern side of the city. Northerners live in the northern part of the city and southerners in the southern part. Those who have lived on the other side near the sea or a river have the tendency here to live as near the sea or the river as possible. The English, islanders, living on the other side of the Hudson as if the river were the channel that separates them from the rest of Europe.
A reformation of the same grouping takes place every time the city expands. If the Italians move further up Harlem, the Greeks follow them, the Spaniards join them, with the French always lagging behind and the Germans expanding eastward. And yet these people hate one another as only neighbors can hate one another. It is not love that attracts them to where the others are. Hatred proves a more potent element of attraction than love. Is there an-other city in the world with fifty-two newspapers published in twenty-two different foreign languages? Is there an-other city where one can travel from one country into another in less time than it takes to think of doing so? Is there another city that so holds the imagination of the en-tire world, toward which every head is stretched, toward which so many things gravitate? Over the whole continent, this side of the ocean, the verdict of New York is waited on everything that is being done, whether in industry or art, in politics or religion. New York is the arbiter. What New York accepts is accepted. What New York dislikes is disliked. If New York has put its approval on a book, or a play, or a painting; that book, that play, that painting is accepted. If New York has put its approval upon a musician, or an actor, or a preacher, he is accepted by the rest of the continent. A baseball player, a prize fighter, a reformer, whether it be in Argentina, or Chile, or San Francisco, or Chicago, waits for the approval of New York before he feels that he has been accepted. How many dashed hopes ! And even the people on the other side of the continent, though reluctantly, also come to ask the approval of New York.
There is no other city where you can listen in one and the same night to a play played in Russian by the best Russian players, or one played in German by the best German players, or one played in French by the best French players; to Shakspere's "Hamlet" in English, and Shakspere's "Hamlet" played in Armenian, by Armenian players specially come from Tiflis. In the quaint old Chinese theater, where the landscape and settings are indicated by a sign on the wall, the heroine, after having been shot to death in the play, rises after a few seconds in full view of the spectators, before the curtain is down, and disappears behind the wings, but comes back for her cap, which lies on the floor and which she has forgotten to pick up.
There are Jewish theaters playing tragedies and comedies written this and the other side of the ocean, and Hebrew players, playing in the old language of the prophets. There are Spanish theaters, Arabic, Scandinavian, and Dutch, each one playing in its own language, each one competing not only for the favor of its own people but for the favor of others. At the Italian theater here, play the best Italian actors, in a city with more Italians than Rome. Greek dancers compete with Swedish ballets on Broadway. A dozen languages playing in one night in one city, twenty halls in which music of all the civilizations is being per-formed at one time, by artists come from the ends of the earth to compete and court approval.
From all this mass there is a slow filtering, drop by drop, into a different civilization, giving of its best as it has given of its worst. Carbon distilling itself into diamonds.
As through hundreds of centuries atoms of carbon form the purest diamond through crystallization, so does now, under our very eyes, take place the crystallization of the spiritual forces all these people have brought here; a crystallization which has no counterpart anywhere in the world, or anywhere in history. All that has been brought here, whether it has immediately taken root or not, remains here, blown hither. and thither at first until it takes root, until it finds its particular soil to grow into. Physically, New York has not yet reached its limit of expansion. Eastward and westward and southward it is limited only by the rivers, which are being spanned; and there is height, height, space conquered by human ingenuity.
Spiritually also the city's growth has only begun, though already such a tremendous power in the world. Not an-other Rome, not another Alexandria, not another Paris, not another London, but an aggregate of which there is no counterpart anywhere. A giant that may break only of its own weight, of its own strength.
City of a thousand schools and a hundred jails. City of a thousand churches and a thousand market-places. City of steel and stone. City of all virtues and all vices. City of magnanimous charity and cruel indifference. City where toil kills as many as joy destroys. City of restlessness, crushing what it has elevated, speeding on rumbling. Thundering madly along, healing, devastating. New York. I am a fragment of one of its million whirling wheels.