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"On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy." So begins E.B. White's classic meditation on that noisiest, most public of American cities. Written during the summer of 1948, well after the author and editor had taken up permanent residence in Maine, Here Is New York is a fond glance back at the city of his youth, when White was one of the "young worshipful beginners" who give New York its passionate character. It's also a tribute to the sheer implausibility of the place--the tangled infrastructure, the teeming humanity, the dearth of air and light. Much has changed since White wrote this essay, yet in a city "both changeless and changing" there are things here that will doubtless ring equally true 100 years from now. To wit, "New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience--if they did they would live elsewhere."
Anyone who's ever cherished his essays--or even Charlotte's Web--knows that White is the most elegant of all possible stylists. There's not a sentence here that does not make itself felt right down to the reader's very bones. What would the author make of Giuliani's New York? Or of Times Square, Disney-style? It's hard to say for sure. But not even Planet Hollywood could ruin White's abiding sense of wonder: "The city is like poetry: it compresses all life ... into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines." This lovely new edition marks the 100th anniversary of E.B. White's birth--cause for celebration indeed. --Mary Park
"Just to dip into this miraculous essay—to experience the wonderful lightness and momentum of its prose, its supremely casual air and surprisingly tight knit—is to find oneself going ahead and rereading it all.White’s homage feels as fresh as fifty years ago." —John Updike
“New York was the most exciting, most civilized, most congenial city in the world when this book was written. It’s the finest portrait ever painted of the city at the height of its glory.”—Russell Baker
“The wittiest essay, and one of the most perceptive, ever done on the city.”—The New Yorker
“Part reverie, part lament and part exultation, the essay has long been recommended by Manhattanophiles as the best sketch ever drawn of the place. But since September 11, 2002, several sentences near the end—sentences 55 years old—resound with a prescience so eerie they bear repeating. 'The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible,' White writes. 'A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.'”—The Los Angeles Times
“… a masterpiece of travel writing. This edition contains an introduction by White's stepson, Roger Angell, himself a longtime New Yorker writer and the author of a number of best-selling books about baseball. After Sept. 11, readers will find this book touching, and prescient, in striking ways. Consider this paragraph: 'All dwellers in cities must live with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself, and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.' The charm isn't just the city. It is also the utterly perfect prose of E.B. White.”—Lousiville Courier-Journal
“White epitomized the lucid and penetrating essayistic voice so treasured at the New Yorker, an impeccable style employed to powerful effect in this exquisitely precise contemplation of the New York City of his youth, and, by extrapolation, of humankind at large. Written in 1948, this witty and perceptive praise song to New York is a classic.”
—Booklist, February 1, 2004
Like the Elements of Style, the timeless writing manifesto that White revised and rewrote for generation after generation of scribes, Here is New York has lasting appeal. Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2003 by Daniel C. Wilcock
Every word E.B. white chose was the perfect word. It's one of those cases where I don't think ANYONE could have said it better. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2003 by Francoise Latrelle
White wrote this essay after he had left New York.Returning briefly,he wrote it for a new travel magazine.It is the gift to give a New Yorker. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2002 by Michael P. Maslanka
I recieved this book for Christmas and I found this book very much to my liking. I love New York, and I plan to move from this small, country town someday and move there, this... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2002 by Mari
This short piece reads rather like some ultra-simplistic pieces I've read from Truman Capote's legendary hand. Read morePublished on Nov. 9 2001 by Kent
I just finished this essay on Saturday night. You must read it. It is one of the best descriptions of NYC. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2001
If you have not discovered this gem in the past, you absolutely must read it now. E.B. White was extremely prophetic in light of the recent tragedy in New York City. Read morePublished on Sept. 25 2001 by Krista H. Gray
I've loved E.B.White's writing ever since a grade school teacher read Charlotte's Web aloud to the class, chapter by chapter. Read morePublished on Sept. 24 2001 by Kcorn