In 1959, Susan Sontag wrote--in her diary: "The ugliness of New York. But I do like it here. In NY sensuality completely turns into sexuality - no objects for the senses to respond to, no beautiful river, houses, people. Awful smells of the street, and dirt ... Nothing except eating, if that, and the frenzy of the bed." (If you like to play the voyeur, check out The Guardian's recent exposure of this great thinker's diary!)
Nothing changes much.
My husband will travel to NYC to look for an apartment. We've been away from the city for one year, living in Chicago. We're moving back to Brooklyn--a place where Paul Auter's funny men go to die.
I was reminded of what I miss most about New York when I spoke to a broker named Allen at Brooklyn Properties. It was the end of a busy Wednesday, and when I asked how he was doing, he said, "Oh, lousy; I guess; it's been a long day."
I said, "Sir, you haven't even talked to ME yet!"
Allen laughed; his laugh echoed: hardy, edgy, soulful music.
Sure, New York's ugly, but people have a good sense of humor about it. Sorry Sontag was too distracted by sex in the city to appreciate wit in the city!
It takes a little time away to see it clearly, but sex is not the funkiest dimension of New York City.
Haven't you heard: someone is writing a new series for HBO called "Wit in the City" about two Brooklyn brokers who frequent a grimy diner and scheme ways to rope all those Paul Austerian heroes into crazy real estate deals? It's airing sometime in 2007, but don't take my word for it. Ask that gossip monger who is right now passed out in the gutter.