New York is Not the Place for Rest

I run through the streets of this gigantic city, and shadows run after me. I gaze with a thousand eyes and listen with a thousand ears all through the day; and when I come home late at night I find more things to gaze at and more voices to listen to. New York is not the place where one finds rest. But did I come here for rest? I am so glad to be able to run. I spent yesterday afternoon in the Museum — and I am astonished to find so many wonderful things in it. It is surely one of the great museums in the world in spite of its being only fifty years old. America is far greater than what people think; her Destiny is strong and healthy and eager. - Khalil Gibran, May 1st 1911

The poet Khalil Gibran wrote this letter to his benefactor when he first arrived to New York.

Over the past century, many cities have risen, many have fallen. Yet, from Gibran’s account, it seems like the New York experience has remained consistent for more than 100 years.

A friend described NYC as America’s America, I think that’s a pretty accurate statement. Many people come here not for rest, not to retire, but to make something of themselves. And that’s part of the beauty of the city.

April 30, 2024

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