This is a beautiful essay. Written in 1949, it still
captures the spirit of New York perfectly. It was a sublime experience
to carry a copy to a bench alongside Madison Square Park, watch the
commuters hurry, the taxis swerve, the buildings rise, and devour the
book in one session.
What's most astonishing - other than White's incredible
prose - is a point he makes for his conclusion: New York is now
vulnerable to attack by plane. He describes the city - just then incorporating
the fledgling United Nations - as the capital of the world, and evokes
how the entire planet would feel destroyed if New York were hurt.
"The trembling city ... the city of final destination,
the city that is a goal. Each embraces New York with the intense excitement
of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh eyes of an adventurer,
each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison company."