E.B. White, “Here Is New York” (1949)

Everyone contributed some great insights to today’s seminar discussion about gentrification! Particularly interesting were the responses to the questions like who has the right to live in New York? Who has the right to shape New York? What kinds of trade-offs have to be negotiated when gentrification occurs to a community? To honor today’s seminar, here is an excerpt from the famous essay by E.B. White, “Here is New York” (1949):

There are three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts it size and its turbulence s natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter – the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the Person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last – the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.

You can read a full text version of White’s essay here.

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