“The Rough Adventure of the Street…”

“The Rough Adventure of the Street…”

Cities, like dreams,” Calvino tells us, “are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspective deceitful, and everything conceals something else” (Invisible Cities).

Calvino is right, of course. New York is the ultimate dream city: monstrous, rude, gentle, brilliant, and dumb. It has all the arrogance and snobbery of a small village, and the pure delight of an empire sitting by the sea. It can never be adequately defined or circumscribed, because it’s a city that didn’t grow out of an idea that made practical sense. The Dutch arrived like phantoms, thinking they were traders, and did not realize that they’d been seduced by a very strange island. They never conquered Manhattan. They built a tiny settlement at the edge of the island, called it New Amsterdam, and forgot they’d ever left home. It was a magic harbor. The British took it from them, renamed the island, but they couldn’t really turn it

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Lima