Sarah Wrote That

"You cross the George Washington Bridge and dip down and around and slide into the gentle curve of the West Side Highway, and the lights and towers of Manhattan flash and glow before you, rising above the lush greenness of Riverside Park, and even the most embittered enemy of Robert Moses—or of that matter, of New York—will be touched: you know you have come home again, and the city is there for you"

- Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience Of Modernity. Berman died yesterday. I remember the shiver, first reading this, and reading his descriptions of the Bronx blasted apart by Moses’s Cross-Bronx Expressway construction a few pages above it. His sense of the “sanctity of ‘things as they are’” was bracingly freed of nostalgia by the rigor of his inquiry, yet did not shy from acknowledging the affinity driving it.

"A brilliant night outside in New York City. It is Saturday and people with debts are going to restaurants, jumping into taxicabs, careening from West to East by way of the underpass through the Park. What difference does it make to be here alone? Even now, just after eight in the evening, the trucks are starting their delivery of the Sunday Times."

- Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights
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kateoplis:

5th Ave, 1905

So awesome. For once, the Flatiron from the South, Madison Square Park angling in above it. Kind of feel I lost some sort of cred, how long I took to recognize it.

kateoplis:

5th Ave, 1905

So awesome. For once, the Flatiron from the South, Madison Square Park angling in above it. Kind of feel I lost some sort of cred, how long I took to recognize it.

We cannot be sure

We cannot be sure

The opening of Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, forthcoming fall 2013.
I’ve been intensely curious about Pynchon’s next novel since learning its setting—nervously, because it overlaps disconcertingly with my manuscript, and with intense curiosity: how will Pynchon, whose work is so artificed, and who uses the epic so artfully to bolster passages of unabashed sentiment, work closer to his present home?
I love the complexity of point of view in the first paragraph, how the reader’s knowledge is assumed, and how the shift from the narrator’s perspective more directly into Maxine’s happens through the expression of resentment of a unspoken sentiment by an absent speaker.
Zig’s “Doesn’t suck”—yeah, we’re ready for that (though, Zig?)
The blurry reflections from apartment windows—I’m so on board for that patience. That’s from someone who knows, loves their neighborhood, its brick and mortar and texture of light.
The cops dealing with bagel deficiencies—I hear a syntactic echo of Harold Brodkey:

The local macrobiotic restaurant was crowded with people dealing macrobiotically with the virility and exoticism factors

Most of all I’m struck by the quotidian-ness that it is so warned against by the cinematic, put-us-in-the-action, what’s-the-conflict school of How To Write (and of course the page has plenty of conflict, or things impending—the first paragraph’s resentment, and the reader’s knowledge of 2001 bearing down. But after a page, are we even to the end of the block?)
For me, it’s the pear trees. I’m sold because the days of white blossoms are so few, and a boy named Zig probably thinks he’s being pretty nine-year-old cool to grant that the moment doesn’t suck.
[via Biblioklept: Gothamist: Penguin [PDF]]

The opening of Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, forthcoming fall 2013.

I’ve been intensely curious about Pynchon’s next novel since learning its setting—nervously, because it overlaps disconcertingly with my manuscript, and with intense curiosity: how will Pynchon, whose work is so artificed, and who uses the epic so artfully to bolster passages of unabashed sentiment, work closer to his present home?

I love the complexity of point of view in the first paragraph, how the reader’s knowledge is assumed, and how the shift from the narrator’s perspective more directly into Maxine’s happens through the expression of resentment of a unspoken sentiment by an absent speaker.

Zig’s “Doesn’t suck”—yeah, we’re ready for that (though, Zig?)

The blurry reflections from apartment windows—I’m so on board for that patience. That’s from someone who knows, loves their neighborhood, its brick and mortar and texture of light.

The cops dealing with bagel deficiencies—I hear a syntactic echo of Harold Brodkey:

The local macrobiotic restaurant was crowded with people dealing macrobiotically with the virility and exoticism factors

Most of all I’m struck by the quotidian-ness that it is so warned against by the cinematic, put-us-in-the-action, what’s-the-conflict school of How To Write (and of course the page has plenty of conflict, or things impending—the first paragraph’s resentment, and the reader’s knowledge of 2001 bearing down. But after a page, are we even to the end of the block?)

For me, it’s the pear trees. I’m sold because the days of white blossoms are so few, and a boy named Zig probably thinks he’s being pretty nine-year-old cool to grant that the moment doesn’t suck.

[via Biblioklept: Gothamist: Penguin [PDF]]

The Best Kind of Mistake

image
photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images in The Atlantic

Our friendship was extremely convenient to major transportation, I said, and Vicky laughed, and immediately we had that, the line, and that we seemed to appreciate it equally, as a joke, and didn’t care that it was true. Her evening proofreading shift began at my preferred train’s departure time. So we had that, too, she said. Jostled between men in sweaty-backed shirts in a narrow bar on Forty-fourth Street, we’d hurriedly decided on an overly flowery white wine and were bent close over small glasses.

“The best kind of mistake,” she said. “Twenty minutes and it’s done.”

“How will that work, with the proofreading?” I asked.

“It’ll have to work, won’t it?” she said.

Read on →
Burns Bros. Coal Wharf, Brooklyn. Beneath Manhattan Bridge, 1912New York City Department of Records
I keep thinking about that poor dolphin in the Gowanus Canal, and the contaminated overflow into neighboring streets during Hurricane Sandy. Water quality studies

have found the concentration of oxygen in the canal to be just 1.5 parts per million, well below the minimum 4 parts per million needed to sustain life [Wikipedia]

I know that logistical complexity as much as cost and bureaucratic knots have prevented cleanup, but it’s still incredible to me that the contamination is upward of a century and a half old.
If DUMBO once looked like this…

Burns Bros. Coal Wharf, Brooklyn. Beneath Manhattan Bridge, 1912
New York City Department of Records

I keep thinking about that poor dolphin in the Gowanus Canal, and the contaminated overflow into neighboring streets during Hurricane Sandy. Water quality studies

have found the concentration of oxygen in the canal to be just 1.5 parts per million, well below the minimum 4 parts per million needed to sustain life [Wikipedia]

I know that logistical complexity as much as cost and bureaucratic knots have prevented cleanup, but it’s still incredible to me that the contamination is upward of a century and a half old.

If DUMBO once looked like this…