E L Doctorow, in his novel ‘City of God’ muses upon the place of humanity in the city of New York:
“But I can stop on any corner at the intersection of two busy streets, and before me are thousands of lives headed in all four directions, uptown downtown east and west, on foot, on bikes, on in-line skates, in buses, strollers, cars, trucks, with the subway rumble underneath my feet … and how can I not know I am momentarily part of the most spectacular phenomenon in the unnatural world?”
“There is a specie recognition we will never acknowledge. A primatial over-soul. For all the weariness or indifference with which we negotiate our public spaces, we rely on the masses around us to delineate ourselves.”
“The city may begin from a marketplace, a trading post, the confluence of waters, but it secretly depends on the human need to walk among strangers.”
E L Doctorow, City of God (London: Abacus, 2001), 12.
Image: New Yorkers at a crossing.