Monday, January 07, 2008

"You cannot accomplish anything in the way of business, you cannot even pay a friendly call, without devoting a whole day to it."

{The Black Maria--prisoners leaving the van at the foot of Twenty-sixth Street, New York City, to embark for Blackwell's Island, 1867. Found at NYC Snapshot.}

From a letter Mark Twain sent from New York as correspondent for the Alta California newspaper February 2, 1867, published March 28, 1867
If you live below Twenty-fifth street, you are "down town;" and if you live anywhere between that and Seven Hundred and Seventy-fifth street (I don't know how far they run--have quit trying to find out), you will never get down town with out walking the legs off yourself. You cannot ride. I mean you cannot ride unless you are willing to go in a packed omnibus that labors, and plunges, and struggles along at the rate of three miles in four hours and a half, always getting left behind by fast walkers, and always apparently hopelessly tangled up with vehicles that are trying to get to some place or other and can't. Or, if you can stomach it, you can ride in a horse-car and stand up for three-quarters of an hour, in the midst of a file of men that extends from front to rear (seats all crammed, of course,)--or you can take one of the platforms, if you please, but they are so crowded you will have to hang on by your eye-lashes and your toe-nails.

I'm off to New York for a few days. I'm taking along the The New York Stories of Edith Wharton and the new Lawrence Block novel from Hard Case Crime, and am dithering on some Dawn Powell--all to go along with Proust or a Byron bio, between which I cannot decide today. Any other New York books I should be sure to carry?

No comments:

Post a Comment