Philip Nobel

  • The Eternal City

    “When I hear people say ‘New York,’” a friend said recently, “I replace it in my mind with ‘my life.’” So, he continued, when someone says to him “New York is hard,” it becomes “My life is hard”—the imagined state of the city standing in for whatever ails the speaker. Try it at home—it works. One can project on New York City in a way one cannot with a Dallas or a Boston. So unknowable, so much in flux—it’s natural to conflate the place with ourselves, just as it is easy to confuse it with the universe (limitless, containing everything) or the sea: by turns placid and roiled, capable of great