August 26, 2015

The NYT description of NYC in August quotes "The Great Gatsby."

From "New York Today: Empty City":
But in the winding-down of summer, the city moves at a slower pace, and the lazy days of August can be quite pleasant.

Or, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in "The Great Gatsby":

"I love New York on summer afternoons when every one’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it — overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands."
Did we ever do that sentence in the old Gatsby project? Oh, it's 2 sentences, and we only read one sentence at a time, but it's the second sentence, the one with the fruits, that's asking for it. If we did, I'm sure we didn't take it to mean simply that summer in the city is lazy and pleasant.

So, yes, we did read that sentence, back on March 2, 2013, and I see that I did throw the first sentence in for context:
You should know that ["There’s something very sensuous about it"] refers to "New York on summer afternoons when every one’s away." That's New York City, of course, not the whole state. People in New York mean New York City when they say "New York." They call the state "New York State" if it's ever worth talking about....

What kind of sensuous, overripe, funny fruits are falling into your hands... wherever you are when "every one's away"?
In the comments, Sydney said, "New York City must have been a hell hole in the summer before air conditioning," and I said, enlarging the context:
Yeah, the sentence is from a passage in which the problem is no a/c. Some characters want to go to the movies and others want to just drive around, which seems to be a way of being out and catching some breeze.

Also, this sentence is very close to one of the favorite "Gatsby" project sentences, the one known for short as "hot whips of panic."...
There's less overripe, falling, funny fruit when air-conditioning is everywhere every where.

Anyway, in the end, the conversation orbited around Harvey Keitel's balls (after kentuckyliz brought up the old famous-for-male-nudity movie "The Piano").

18 comments:

Nichevo said...

Why is this interesting?

Bob Ellison said...

Gatsby, NYC, and naked Keitel. I don't know how to contain my enthusiasm.

tim in vermont said...

I don't know about NYC, but I know that this year was so perfect for growing apples that a branch on my apple tree just broke under the weight.

I like the hot summer days. If I didn't have to work sometimes, I would be happy to forgo the air conditioning too, but I don't live in NYC, I live in an area New Yorkers used to come to to escape the heat.

tim in vermont said...

BTW, I fucking love that novel. There was a novel out recently called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I think that I would switch that title up for Gatsby and call it a "Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius" on account of how jealous it makes me to read it.

David Begley said...

The greatest people of the world living in the greatest city of the world!

The self-described Masters of the Universe.

We are their slaves.

Bay Area Guy said...

It's a nice little NYT article, and the reference to Gatsby works well.

There's a nice little run-down of City tidbits and events, and then this:.

• The number of homeless children in the city’s public schools increased by 25 percent from 2010 to 2013, according to a new report. [WNYC]

• Complaints of subway assaults are up 24 percent this year. [New York Post]

The casual reference to these 2 items as if homeless children and assaults are normal and tolerable, is a bit obtuse

Scott said...

New York City is nice in the summer and fall; although I'm waiting for the tourists to go home in September. They make the walk from 51st and Lex to Penn Station after work a bit of a challenge.

Ann Althouse said...

"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" isn't a novel. It's a memoir. It's not that recent, 15 years old. The author, Dave Eggers, tells us about the death, from cancer, of both of his parents, and his struggle to be a father to his younger brother, Toph (that is, Christopher).

Toph is now an adult. Here's his Twitter feed. I'm going to do a new post on something I see he retweeted: here.

Laslo Spatula said...

"we did read that sentence, back on March 2, 2013," link doesn't work.

Was looking forward to reading the betamax3000, which I am assuming might have had a role in Keitel's balls.

A long time ago, really.

I am Laslo.

Peter said...

“This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight. … The valley of ashes is bounded on one side by a small foul river, and, when the drawbridge is up to let barges through, the passengers on waiting trains can stare at the dismal scene for as long as half an hour.”

That "valley of ashes" (as described above in The Great Gatsby) is long gone, replaced by mid-20th century visions of the future and, ultimately, a public park.

That is, the ashes (residue from burning coal) were used as fill, and the area reclaimed for the 1939-40 NY World's Fair and then re-used for the 1964-65 World's Fair. The Unisphere (symbol of the 1964-65 Fair) is still at the site, as is the Tent of (yesterday's) Tomorrow (although the Tent is in poor condition).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Valley_of_Ashes.jpg

http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/flushing-meadows-corona-park

Laslo Spatula said...

The link, for those who are interested. Way too much betamax3000.. Way too much.

I am Laslo.

tim in vermont said...

isn't a novel. It's a memoir. It's not that recent, 15 years old.

LOL, I read it, I thought it was a novel. I never read forwards or prefaces or reviews. Oh well. I also took a course in Op Amps in college and never knew they were a real thing until I saw one for sale at Radio Shack, but at the time I could do the math to make one do Riverdance if I wanted...

My cluelessness amazes me sometimes.

Michael K said...

The first time I was in New York City was August 1965 and we were visiting friends. We were in a bar and a guy fell off the bar stool drunk. our friend laughed and said that was common because the guy's family was at the shore for the month and lots of guys were alone in the city and got drunk.

Sebastian said...

Hmm, I wonder how this blog would be different if the hostess did care about stories.

Nichevo said...

Only her own.

tim in vermont said...

Why on Earth do you guys read it then?

Nichevo said...

You might as well ask why does she write it. For most, the attraction has been the other commenters. That said, she wasn't always like this, she has gotten worse.

William Chadwick said...

I'd rather spend the hottest August in NYC without air conditioning than the mildest, air-conditioned August in this Sun Belt urban-sprawly cultural wasteland I am currently marooned in. Here if you quote "Gatsby" the result would probably be something like "Sorry, I only read Tom Clancy and John Grisham," or "You talk like a fag."