Spent a weekend in New York for a wedding, not doing much but sitting around with friends, eating too much and walking slowly. But still, edged light along skyscrapers, and the g-forces in a madly driven taxicab pushed the city’s energy into my bones.
Jeanette Winterson spins a good New York yarn here.
And long ago I wrote a very silly fairy tale for a college class, with a bit inspired by time in the city:
She reached the city three days later, completely unprepared for what she found there. She would leave her rented room early in the morning and wander the streets, taking in her new environment with the bewildered outrage of a baby taking its first gasps of air. It was a maze, like the forest, but neither soft nor green. Sharp greys and blues etched with black, all colors cut into angles, sunlight glinting along edges that sliced the sky into sections, she saw, tilting back her head and growing dizzy. Looking down, she watched the streets tunnel confidently through the masses of buildings, carrying her along with them, along with thousands of other people streaming ceaselessly back and forth. At times she found the symmetry painfully beautiful, and the movement of cars and people dancing together filled her with an indescribable longing.
The sounds of the city surrounded her continuously, now seeming quite distinct from one another: a car horn, a fan, a man shouting, the tread of rubber tires on pavement, the rush of wind searching frantically among the buildings for some lost part of itself. Often, though, if she closed her eyes, all the sounds would blend into an endless roar, and Elisabeth would imagine the city as a huge lion, pacing in a steel cage. She had fallen in love with this creature and would spend her nights awake, listening to her lover, watching its moods change outside her window.
When she tried to write to her mother about the city, words failed her utterly; she was left describing the weather, or the job she had taken as a waitress, instead of the way the rain slid down walls of stone and glass, and how the streets steamed and gleamed when the sun returned after a storm, and how the people in the restaurant never stood out to her, but seemed to combine in producing yet another new expression on this lover’s countenance.