Friday, January 20, 2012

E.B. White’s New York

In the summer of 1948, writer E. B. White (1899-1985) wrote what would become one of his most famous essays and also one of the best pieces about New York City: “Here is New York.”

According to White’s foreword (to the 1949 book version of the essay originally written for Holiday Magazine,) the essay was written on a summer visit to New York, during a “hot spell.”  White then tells readers that his essay only momentarily captures a city in flux. Even within the short passage of time since it had been written, it seems, the piece had already become outdated.

“The reader will find certain observations to be no longer true of the city,” White stated, “owing to the passage of time and the swing of the pendulum. I wrote not only during a heat wave, but during a boom. The heat has broken, the boom has broken, and New York is not quite so feverish now as when the piece was written.”