Thursday, October 04, 2001

At the NYU, ITP, I have been out of touch for too long... I have no idea what is going on in the world, my host, matthew, is gettign all his news at work. I picked up the NEw York TImes on the way into the city, but I haven't had time to read yet.

Today I walked up Broadway (as much of it as I could), but as I had passed Wall Street, the avenue was blocked. There I for the first time identified the smell of NYC. Somehow it is very familiar. I remember this scent of chemicals and destruction, fire and dust, from fabric shops in Singapore - and even from NYC itself. But it's as if it's concentrated, almost liquid to the point that it can be tasted rather than smelled, as I walk past wall Street and up circumventing the World Trade Center.

Around me people are determinedly normal. They go on about their lives, trading, selling, buying, commuting and buying their morning coffee in a way that makes me, perhaps for the first time, truly admire something American. But perhaps that is because it's so intensely human, this will to return life to the normal, this need to carry on and continue. It's a very vulnerable strength - the strength of survivors, fragile, but impressive, at the same time.

But it comes at a price. The price is the arrogant invulnerable joy of NYC. I wonder if that will ever return, or if this is what it takes for a city to mature from teen-age into something more dignified or decadent or sombre, like London, Paris, Berlin.

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