Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Archive of the Day

Tom Wolfe on New York City and Houston, respectively, from The Right Stuff:
Despite the tide of cheers and tears that had already started in Washington, none of them knew what to expect in New York. Like most military people, including those in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, they didn't really consider New York part of the United States. It was like a free port, a stateless city, an international protectorate, Danzig in the Polish corridor, Beirut the crossroads of the Middle East, Trieste, Zurich, Macao, Hong Kong. Whatever ideals the military stood for, New York City did not. It was a foreign city full of a strange race of curiously tiny malformed gray people.

July 4 was not the time of year for anyone to be introduced to Houston, Texas, although just what the right time would be was hard to say. For eight months Houston was an unbelievably torrid effluvial swamp with a mass of mushy asphalt, known as Downtown, set in the middle. Then for two months, starting in November, the most amazing winds came sweeping down from Canada, as if down a pipe, and the humid torpor turned into a wet chill. The remaining two months were the moderate ones, although not exactly what you would call spring. The clouds closed in like a lid, and the oil refineries over by Galveston Bay saturated the air, the nose, the lungs, the heart, and the soul with the gassy smell of oil funk. There were bays, canals, lakes, lagoons, bayous everywhere, all of them so greasy and toxic that if you trailed your hand in the water off the back of your rowboat you would lose a knuckle.


Blogger Dezmond said...

New York sounds terrible.

3:53 PM  

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