The New York state of mind

Began reading The Taking of Pelham One Two Three this weekend on my friends’ roof deck this sunny weekend; it is shockingly well-written. (As added bonuses, it [a] name-drops Pelham, where the Mathers lived from 1975-1978, and [b] takes place on the present-day 4-5-6 subway line, which I lived near during the Ill-Fated NYC Experiment of 2002.)

Two beautiful passages detailing the New York state of mind (which I refused with every ounce of my being):

A rumbling sound heightened to a clatter, and an express train whipped through on the northbound track, its lights flickering between the pillars like a defective movie film. At the edge of the platform, a man glared at the disappearing express, then turned to Ryder, appealing for communion, for sympathy. Ryder looked at him with the absolute neutrality that was the authentic mask of the subway rider, of any New Yorker, or perhaps the actual face New Yorkers were born with, or issued, or, wherever they were born, assumed once they won their spurs as bona fide residents. 


… and that sixth sense, somehow allied to the instinct for survival, that New Yorkers developed in all the compartmented phases of their embattled coexistence with the city. Like animals in a jungle, like plants, they adapted, they mutated toward specific defenses and suspicions created to cope with specific threats. Cut a New Yorker open and you would discover convolutions in his brain, tracks in his nervous system, that were not present in any other urban citizenry anywhere.


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