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“The quality in New York that insulates its inhabitants from life may simply weaken them as individuals. Perhaps it is healtheier to live in a community where, when a cornice falls, you feel the blow; where, when the governor passes, you see at any rate his hat.

“I am not defending New York in this regard. Many of its settlers are probably here merely to escape, not face, reality. But whatever it means, it is a rather rare gift, and I believe it has a positive effect on the creative capacities of New Yorkers – for creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions.

“Many people who have no real independence of spirit depend on the city’s tremendous variety and sources of excitement for spiritual sustenance and maintenance of morale. In the country there are a few chances of sudden rejuvenation – a shift in weather, perhaps, or something arriving in the mail. But in New York the chaces are endless. I think that although many persons are here from some excess of spirit (which caused them to break away from their small town), some, too, are here from a deficiency of spirit, who find in New York a protection, or an easy substitution.”

– EB White, “Here is New York”

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