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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Otis The Wolf, parts 1082 - 1085





1082. From the end of the Civil War until the Great Depression their land was a vast building project of magnificent structures of all sorts. They built train stations like the Baths of Diocletian, and Court Houses like fine Greek temples. Every city had a library patterned on French Renaissance architecture or resembling small Romanesque churches. The older cities had public schools with architecture to take your breath away, buildings that could make even a delinquent's breast swell with pride.


1083. And this does not take into account works like the bridges and civic projects in great cities like New York and Chicago. The bridges of New York make the Roman Coliseum and the aqueducts look like child's play. I remember distinctly the first time I ever saw the George Washington Bridge. We were coming down the West Side highway, it was many years ago.


1084. The West Side Highway coming into the city from the North is very park-like; through trees one glimpses high up on the left just the tops of the ornate apartment houses of upper Manhattan. Then, around a bend, unexpectedly the bridge comes into view, one can see only a part of its gigantic cement abutment, over ones' head the road-stead soars out over the Hudson River.


1085. One's soul is made numb, the hair stands up on the back of your neck, and you think, this then is New York, and the bridge seems to say, "Go, make a name for yourself here, or be swept aside into the gutter, it doesn't matter. I am New York, I and my sisters." I don't think there is anything like that first impression of New York City in modern experience except perhaps the first time one feels the pressure on one's back as a big jet begins to move down the runway.

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