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The Hive and the Town

During my years in the cities, returning to New York by air at night mesmerized me during the long approach. Sliding down over the Alleghenies from the west, curving in over the Atlantic from the South, or throttling back and easing off the Great Circle Route from Europe, the emergence of the vast sprawl of lights that defined the Hive always enraptured me. On moonless nights, after the humming hours held in that aluminum cylinder hoisted into mid-heaven, you saw the long continents of dark water or land dissolve into shimmering white-gold strands connecting to clusters of earth-anchored constellations that merged to expanding galaxies of towns, suburbs, and cities until all below was a shimmering web of man-made stars.

As you swept down still lower, these massive meadows of stars resolved to highways and streets, boroughs and neighborhoods, houses and buildings, and the yellow prongs of headlights darting under the streetlights. Then you were over the boundary, the runway blurring just beneath your seat. A bump and a bounce, engines reversing, weight shifting forward then back, and you were down and rolling towards the gate. If you were coming in from the Caribbean there was grateful applause for the pilot for the miracle of a safe landing.

You deplaned, grabbed your bags, hailed a cab, and soon lurched along the Long Island Expressway, part of those headlights hazed beneath streetlights you’d looked down on only minutes before. The meter clicked past $50.00, the skyline of Manhattan rose behind the gravestones of the vast cemetery, a bridge, and a toll and you were back in the Hive.

I loved the Hive across all the long years I lived within it. It was at once exciting and exasperating, densely communal and achingly lonely, empowering and eviscerating, inspiring and degrading. It never stopped coming at you and, on those days when your mental defenses were weak and your emotional shields wavered, it could splatter your soul. The same random evening stroll through downtown that would show you six people ambling along dressed as gigantic baked potatoes (complete with a pat of butter, gob of sour cream, and chives), would also show you a wizened bum so diminished that he would drop his trousers, squat, and defecate in the middle of the sidewalk as bond traders in bespoke suits and handmade English shoes stepped carefully around the spectacle seeing nothing, nothing at all.

An old friend with little use for it describes the Hive as, “Hell… with good restaurants.”

But Hell has its charms no less than Heaven; more it would seem than mere Heaven for how else does Hell hold so many in thrall for so long? Did not Milton, who being blind saw so deeply, declare, “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven?” In the Hive as in Hell, there’s always someone lower beneath you on the totem pole, until, of course, you become the defecating bum or another one of the soul-gutted homeless set out randomly on the streets as both warnings and talismans of what can happen should you fail to toe the line, talk the talk, and walk the walk that the Hive demands in exchange for your small but continuing prosperity.

These small skills of toeing, talking, and walking I mastered early during my time in the Hive. I continued to deploy them with some modest success. I say modest since, just as there was always no shortage of those beneath you in the Hive, so too did the heap of souls piled there rise far above you. Exactly how far their relative altitude was above yours was always measured only by the cold metric of gold. And if the Hive is long on anything, it is gold. Except of course that no matter how gold much you acquire, you only have a little of all that there is to be had, a fact that keeps people in the Hive long after there’s any real human need for being there. In the Hive, there’s always more gold to be had. The only thing asked for in exchange is time, of which the Hive never has enough since to be in the Hive is to squander your time at a greater rate than you realize until you turn around, three decades are gone, and at last, you know you’re running low.

Soon it will be almost twenty years since I left the Hive and I’ve no inclination to return. It’s easy to say that my love affair with that life ended in fire, smoke, and ash on the crisp and clear morning of September 11, 2001, but that’s only a convenient peg on which to hang the more complicated dissolution of an unwritten pact. It more probably began in a car northeast of the city some ten years before when my first wife decided to redefine the word “normal” as “gay” for my 11-year-old daughter.

Or perhaps it began in a hundred other equally mundane moments. In truth, you are either growing into a thing or growing out of it and towards something else, some other phase of this long series of repeated lessons handed out by existence for what you hope is some purpose, although what purpose that might be is always obscure. No matter. As the early Portuguese explorers knew, “It is important to travel. It is not important to arrive.”

By the time I left the Hive, whatever had once bound me to it had long since frayed away. The upward pace of a “career” seemed more and more like a pointless marathon, a mere job. Long days spent striving to “exceed corporate goals” came to resemble a game of pick-up-sticks played with cows wearing clogs. Efforts to save an enterprise that one didn’t own came down to admitting that the enterprise had no intrinsic worth other than maintaining the vulgar lifestyle of an aging monomaniac who could no longer reason his way through two and two to four. It all combined into a vast fog of disappointment that obscured the plain and simple fact that while government employees were working 24 hours a day printing more money, nobody anywhere was printing more time.

And so, at last, you’ve got to go.

Yes, like Jack Kerouac, Bard of the Road, wrote “Man, you gotta go.” Then he went home.

Okay. Fair enough. But go where? Here? Maybe. But where, exactly, is “here?”

Today, for a week or so, “here” turns out to be a small town up on the northwest edge of the nation. In size and composition, architecture, and attitude, it is just about the exact polar opposite of the Hive. Where Central Park in the Hive is a large, long oblong of struggling overused green in the center of an immense slab of asphalt, steel, and concrete, the central park of this town is about 15 yards on a side. It’s a pleasant patch of cool grass studded with picnic tables and ringed with oaks that drape it in a shawl of shade. At the east end is a brick and cedar bandstand where banjos, guitars, and fiddles sing out on odd afternoons and evenings. You’ll hear some country and some rock, but mostly you’ll hear the strains of bluegrass brought down out of the old Alleghenies and carried far west to these higher, more distant, and demanding mountains.

On the west side of the park is a five-foot by three-foot marble-faced granite slab in the shape of two tablets donated and erected there by the local chapter of the Eagles. Carved into the marble face in polished script are the Ten Commandments, King James version. It would seem that whatever local chapter of the ACLU exists in these parts has chosen to ignore this blatant eruption of the Christian tradition in the secular town park. One might suppose the ACLU has done this simply because it hasn’t gotten around to it. It would, however, be much more likely that the organization is aware that in this town an ACLU suit to remove the Ten Commandments would be answered not with a five-year legal argument, but with 30 rounds of semi-automatic rifle fire into the offices and automobiles of those seeking its removal. Since, for all its posturing, the ACLU has devolved into a refuge for moral and physical cowards with law degrees, it’s not difficult to see why this stone, largely unread and unnoticed, has been given a pass.

This is a heavily armed part of the nation and, as a result, it is a very civil and polite part as well. The local army surplus store, called “Army Surplus,” offers a selection of 40 MM artillery rounds (disarmed) to those locals who collect vintage ammunition or simply to those in need of a paperweight with authority. The local classified bargain hunter newspaper (“Nickel’s Worth – One Copy Free”) offers free rabbits (with hutch), free pigs (no accommodations included), and free kindling (“2 cords U haul”). One the same page you’re offered such amusements as a 50-pound keg of black powder ($75.00) and a pistol grip pump-action Mossburg shotgun with a short 20-inch barrel (“Used twice, like new, make offer.”) There are rumors that some folks outside of town own used Army tanks, but these are not listed in the paper although large tanks for storing diesel and gasoline on your land are, along with military-level first aid kits. Just the thing for a sucking chest wound.

As I get up and walk away from the shaded picnic table where I’ve been writing, a man sitting on the bandstand with a lunch sack and a large bottle of Mountain Dew smiles and asks, “Are you vacating that table?” Like I said when the people are well-armed people are very polite.

But of course, that’s not the driving reason for civility, only a part of the general community background coloring. Another reason in this town of about 6,500 souls is that — for all the locals complain about the summer traffic — the town is not very crowded at all. Yet another reason is that the town is very, very white; so white that even the Native Americans here are, well, sort of pale.

Current concerns and tensions over ethnic diversity make it to the town via television, radio, and the puffed-up editorials scribbled in the distant Spokane newspaper. A shabby local rag parrots the received line of the American Left, but it is largely ignored except by the 20 odd people listed on its gigantic masthead. The love of diversity is probably taught in the schools along with the other two vital educational truths of our era — Tobacco, bad; New York Times, good — but other than that diversity and the other tendentious tenets of these times are just wisps of smoke on far distant waters. In this town, being white is simply what you are.

If you had any doubt of this, a haircut at the local barbershop (“The Last Male Outpost”) would trim your notion shorter than a Marine flat-top. Although sporting a red, white, and blue barber pole outside the shop boasts a Confederate Stars and Bars barber pole on the inside. Taking a seat you can leaf through vintage copies of “Field & Stream,” “Guns & Ammo,” and the long-defunct “The Mother Earth News” (“Build a Compost Tumbler from Your Hot Water Tank!”). There’s no New-Age elevator music here, but an always-on police scanner so you can be among the first to know “when it all goes down.” If you listen while the clippers are whirring in your ear, your barber will tell you that what all women secretly and shamefully want is the one thing they can’t have, “The natural power of the male.” He’ll also reveal that he’s trying to get this power working on his third wife.

If you said the right things and listened harder and came by for haircuts at regular intervals for a year or so, you might find out a few other things concerning high-caliber automatic weapons and ammunition stockpiles against that fateful day “when it all goes down,” but blunt inquiries from a casual summer drop-in would probably be met with silence and a very bad, very close haircut.

From all of this, if you live in the Hive, you might think you have a clear impression of this town up along the northwest edge of the nation, and file it with similar impressions of other towns out on the edges of the grid and far from the maddening crowd in the Hive. You’d have that impression but it would be a false impression. Not because of anything I’ve put in, but because of what I’ve left out. Like any other place, the town has many faces.

It’s a town of small houses and tin roofs (“So the snow slides off easy.”) A town where the teenagers drive the five-block main drag with rap music blaring from their parent’s cars. It’s a town where there’s comedy and tragedy inside a small house with five kids and a hand-lettered sign on the fence welcoming the father back from Iraq. It’s a town with the plagues of drugs and festering resentments. In that, it’s like a hundred thousand other towns and not so unlike the giant Hives of our cities. Looking at only the darker parts of these towns, you’d miss the many other things that there are to see. You’d miss a lot.

You’d miss the rope swing hanging down from the tree over the river and the line of teenagers in tight bodies and tighter swimsuits arcing out from the bank and then up and letting go with a shriek at the top of the arc and plunging down into the clear, chill water, laughing and scrambling up the dirt bank to go again, an update of Thomas Eakins great painting, “The Swimming Hole,” in real life and real-time, right now on an endless summer afternoon.

You’d miss the sweeping panorama of the long lake clasped between the ranges of hills and mountains daubed with vast swathes of pine and cedar; the mountains seeming to hold back the piles of white cumulus far to the north and the west leaving the town and the lake warm under a bright clear sky all down the slope of the day and into the lingering twilight.

You’d miss the small farmer’s market setting up around me in the park now as I make these notes. A market presenting for those who wander by hand-fashioned bread loaves with thick crusts still cooling in the reed baskets on the table, fresh-cut wildflowers in large bouquets, the seven varieties of garlic with soil still on their roots offered up by the “Two Ponies Organic Farm” — plowed by, yes, two tired-looking ponies hitched to a harrow. You wouldn’t see and taste the “Heirloom” tomatoes, the pickling cukes, the golden beets and the mounds of other produce all centered about the local Cult of the Huckleberry and the several dozen different products derived from this fruit.

You’d miss the ever-increasing overlay of people migrating in from other, larger places, other Hives, bringing along with them the omnipresent espresso and pastry shops, the Ahi-tuna centered restaurants, the downtown rock and salsa nightclub where “It’s a great place to be gay… or not!”

You’d miss this latest demographic’s obsessive concern with wide and constant availability of mildly superior California wines in their almost infinite sameness.

Following close behind this influx of aging tomb-boomers you’d see the proliferation of shops specializing in giving an antlered, worn-pine, Indian blanket, Western feel to the $500,000 vacation condos and the $2,000,000 lakefront McMansions with floating boat docks sporting 25′ Sea Rays. Driving just beyond the town limits, you’d find the immense alien landing sites of Home Depot and Wal-Mart, which haven’t managed to kill off the local merchants. Yet. And in all of this you’d rest secure that once in town you’d never be more than five minutes from a Starbucks since, once in town, you’re never more than five minutes from anything. Walking.

You’d miss the much-bemoaned (unless you’re selling) real estate boom, and the whines about “all those damned Californians that’ve invaded since that damned Sunset article naming us as the best town in the Northwest.” Years back that and, in the manner of magazines that must publish the “same article, only different” time after time, other “best towns” have been named since, but the beat of the boom goes on and prices out those that must work in the Wal Mart in favor of the aging geezers who shop at Neiman Marcus — via the Internet with free shipping and no sales tax, thank you.

You’d miss the postman actually walking his route through the town clad in regulation shorts, uniform shirt, official US mail sack, and baseball cap, with goatee, sleek Nikes, and Blades shades, strolling door to door right down the Oak Street sidewalk where the concrete slabs narrow down to round stepping stones that curve across the shaggy, shaded lawn to the vine-drowned porch of the small yellow house where, quite literally, the sidewalk ends.

You’d miss lounging back on the wide expanse of lawn in the town’s Little League field where the peaked white tent has been set up for the music festival like a thousand other small-town music festivals, and you’d drink your cold white local wine from a plastic cup as the burning banjos and mandolins of a Bluegrass group you’d never heard of went to work, brought it on, and played their hearts out as the sunlight faded off the hills and dusk rose up by the lake, and they still played on as hundreds bobbed and turned and beat their feet in the looming dark while the red hawk settled down out of the sky onto his nest on the street light above the water.

And you’d miss — late into that same crisp summer night when the freight train rumbles over the long bridge across the lake on the edge of the town and the sliver of the new moon jumps up over the ridgeline and the train fades off down the tracks and the dark deepens in the yard — you’d miss lying on the cool grass a long, long way from the fine restaurants of Hell, looking straight up forever into an infinite hive of stars.

[Written by August 11, 2005 ]

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ed January 13, 2018, 2:06 AM

    Wonderful, Gerard.
    I’ve known both the town and the hive, or the same but different. Now Jack and I just dwell on 5 acres of cedars and oaks (beetles took all the pines), and watch the redtails worry the quail. Jack’s outside where it’s near freezing right now, but will soon let himself in and leave the damn door open, again.
    Thank you. Good night.

  • MMinLamesa January 13, 2018, 2:20 AM

    Nice writing. I’ve been a small town guy for almost 30 years after s Philly, Chicago and Denver living. Now a venture into the Big City(Midland-HA!) is an event.

  • Sam L. January 13, 2018, 7:41 AM

    I couldn’t live that way, and I’m glad I never had to.

  • Jim in Alaska January 13, 2018, 12:20 PM

    Great un, Gerard.

    Like you, before I made my move to paradise (Much like your present Paradise with mirror image barbershop, park, army surplus store, etc., -but with a different name & in my opinion, far more interesting weather.) over 50 years ago, I pilgrimaged up from Florida to see if God really lived at the top of the Empire State Building, smoking 5 dollar cigars and if the East River really flowed with red wine.

    I’ve absolutely no wish to return there today but I still cherish that place back in the day. Everything was there; a wooden sidewalk on a block that used to the the leather district behind wall street, 3 A.M. at the Five Spot listening to the jazz greats that would come down just to jam with their friends after their gigs closed uptown, 5 cent rides on the Staten Island Ferry, wandering up (South side of Staten Island but for some reason you’d go _up_ there.) to Tootenville and finding Sweet Caporal cigarettes still on the shelf, reading my ‘timeless’, ‘verse’ in the coffee houses with listeners snapping their fingers in appreciation, going to parties were some other young guy, named Dylan or something was playing and singing, watching Toshiro Mifune, Japan’s John Wayne, in Akira Kurosawa’s samurai movies at the Bleeker Street Cinema, etc., etc., etc., ….
    So! Again, good un, Gerard! Thanks for reminding. been there done that (Although done did different than you done did of course.), no desire to go back but so very glad I did, and was, there then.

  • Kevin Dickson January 14, 2018, 8:52 AM

    There are so many small towns like this in the Texas Hill Country north of San Antonio. Your essay reminded me……it’s time to get in the jeep and go see what I’ve been missing. There is a bakery in LLano…….that does not have a single healthy item on its shelves. I think I’ll start there.


  • Nobody Atall January 14, 2018, 10:58 AM

    Is this Omak? We picnicked in Omak’s city park one hot August day while travelling from Spokane to Penticton, when our children were small and life was beautiful. If I didn’t have ties elsewhere, I would love to live there …

  • Vanderleun January 14, 2018, 12:01 PM

    The town is Sandpoint, Idaho.

  • Nobody Atall January 14, 2018, 12:45 PM


  • RonETC January 1, 2021, 9:33 AM

    Well, actually no: “Did not Milton, who being blind saw so deeply, declare, ‘Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven?'” That phrase and that attitude toward life is what Milton puts in the mouth of Satan, so it is a satanic way of looking at life. The biblical attitude would be better summed up in Psalm 84: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

  • Stargazer January 1, 2021, 10:12 AM

    The hive was (used to be) a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

  • EX-Californian Pete January 1, 2021, 10:58 AM

    Man, I really don’t miss living in a “big city.”
    I’ve been to NYC a few times, and never could stand the place. (Or the smell of it) Not a place I’d ever visit again, especially since it’s declined so much more over the years. As for living in L.A. for 28 years, it was a great place decades ago, but has since turned into a 3rd World cesspool.
    Moving to NorCal was great for a few years, but now its as bad as SoCal.

    Makes me even more thankful every single day that I now reside in a beautiful, calm, serene, safe, and quiet small town in a RED Midwest state.

  • Dan January 1, 2021, 11:00 AM

    Satan does not “reign” in hell.

    Hell was made for Satan’s eternal damnation.

  • Casey Klahn January 1, 2021, 1:21 PM

    I thought it either Bridgeport, or Newport, WA. Anyone who gets this close ought to try to look me up. I will debouch from my bunker to meet.

    Exquisitely written. A gem. Except, people don’t say such things in Sandpoint. They say “neat” and “damn good”!

  • ghostsniper January 1, 2021, 2:35 PM

    I lived in Redondo, enjoyed almost every minute of it, saw NYFC, from 35,000 ft and that was close enough. I made a rule long ago to never go back to a place I’ve been for there are still a lot of places to see. I might make an exception for Alaska.

  • gwbnyc January 1, 2021, 4:36 PM

    I flew out of LGA to Norfolk one summer night, it was at the intro of the blue hour, the city was lit by its own light, a bright moon, and the setting sun was off the ground but still lighting the buildings- unforgettable. The city looked like a miniature. I made the flight maybe fifty times. Leave eastbound, circle left over Manhattan (and our building) then fly southerly down the coast to Virginia Beach. A few times in lightning storms, quietly entertaining. Fifty minutes.

  • nunnya bidnez, jr January 1, 2021, 5:46 PM

    Well, I suppose that most of you will be pleased to hear that NYC has been utterly destroyed by the likes of mayor DeBlasio and governor Cuomo the Second.

    Although I live in the near suburbs of Bay Ridge, close by the Verrazzano Bridge, I rarely venture into Manhattan. The past two months it’s been necessary for me to visit a few times. I’ve done extensive walking from South Ferry up to Union Square, as well as walking through midtown east. I can report that the city is nearly empty, that Wall Street is populated by mostly homeless crazies and some construction workers ..nary a banker in sight.

    The restauranteurs I spoke to report an 85% decline in daily revenues, there is no traffic, and plenty of on street parking available.
    The restaurants don’t allow inside dining, but they’ve been allowed to set up outdoor dining which blocks the sidewalks, or takes up the first lane of the street next to the curb. Visually it looks like the shacks in any other third world S-hole.

    Tribeca, Soho and The West Village, usually full of young people and students, are desolate now; shops are closed, plywood and graffiti covers the windows and doors, even Washington Square park has been mostly abandoned.

    Uptown, on Lexington Ave in the 50s and 60s, there are shuttered hotels, closed movie theaters, empty office buildings, completely vacant apartment buildings. Grand Central Station, which I would travel through every day a decade ago, is an empty cavernous space.

    The Post Office reports that half a million people are having their mailed forwarded to their new abodes; apartment rents are dropping, co-op sales are plummetting.

    The subway no longer runs 24 hours a day, The trains don’t run as frequently, but it is kept clean. Nearly everybody is wearing face masks, they avoid me as I walk by maskless and unafraid.

    What are the upsides?? The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which used to be too crowded to enjoy, is now almost pleasurable to visit .. if you don’t mind being masked. You can have a quiet stroll all by yourself on any street. You can always get a seat on the subway.


    BTW Gerard, I walked past your uncle/namesake down at the Battery, paid my respects.

  • H (science denier) January 1, 2021, 5:59 PM

    I very much hold with Thomas Jefferson, who said “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe” and nothing I saw during my one and done trip to NYFC caused me to alter that opinion in the slightest.

  • Vincent Frodl January 1, 2021, 6:42 PM

    Great essay, I live in a town not unlike that town but in the midwest.
    The things you mentioned are very familiar. I grew up in the country managed large hog farms and live in the country now.
    I do enjoy your writing ,thanks!

  • Ana Nimity January 1, 2021, 7:13 PM

    I was standing in front of a gas station, in the San Fernando Valley of North Los Angeles, one day and a postal worker was walking by and I don’t know how we even began, but we started talking a and I immediately noticed his strong New York accent, which he confirmed after my inquiry. Having never been farther east than Albuquerque, NM. I was curious about New York so I asked him; “If I had just an hour to spend in New York, where should I go?” He said; “to the airport to get out of there”..

    Sorry, I have no ill will for New Yorkers any more after 9/11, but I guess everyone is different.

  • Casey Klahn January 1, 2021, 7:41 PM


    Jeebeez fuckn cripes. I wonder when the computer who wore tennis shoes will show up and declare Manhattan Escape From new York’s real life movies set.

    Thanks for that description. It boggles the mind, really.

  • Auntie Analogue January 1, 2021, 8:50 PM

    In the header photo, see that illuminated patch of green jutting into the Hudson? Now imagine drawing a line from right to left, a horizontal line from that little green lozenge, across the Hudson, and on the other side of the river, just outside the photo’s frame, is where I was born and grew up. I like to say that I grew up looking at the Statue of Liberty’s ass.

    When the tide ran out my friends and I could walk out on the mud flats, which were often strewn with the shiny brown shells of thousands of horseshoe crabs. On those flats we walked almost all the way out to Liberty Island. Not quite to spitting distance, but near enough for one of my friend’s arrows, shot from his fifteen-pound bow, to arc out and strike in shallow water just short of the island.

    The upper story windows of my high school afforded a panoramic view across the Hudson, and from up there during those teen years I watched the Twin Towers rise to their full height. Never did I find those two buildings appealing, and to this day my favorite Manhattan skyscraper remains the Chrysler Building. Take that not as a token of joy in the Twin Towers horrific jihad demise, but simply as an expression of appreciation for beautiful architecture instead of for modernism and its brutalism.

    By the time of high school the Manhattan piers no longer sheltered the great ocean liners that Dad used to take us, on the Jersey Central ferry or through the Hudson Tubes (the subway that ran beneath the river), to those piers where my kid brother and I stood gaping upward in awe at RMS Queen Mary, RMS Queen Elizabeth, Île de France, and our American pride and joy SS United States. And Dad would tell us that none of those ships was as beautiful as the long-gone Normandie he’d beheld there in his boyhood. Today I tell you that none of today’s hideous cruise ships has so much as a tenth of the grace and beauty of the 1930’s-1950’s ocean liners my kid brother and I had, years ago, admired.

    Manhattan was a day’s outing for its large and lavish first-run moviehouses – including the Rockettes’ pre-feature film performance at Radio City Music Hall during Easter Week – plus the pre-movie medley played on the awesomely sonorous Wurlitzer organ whose deeper tones made our tummies tremble; to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and skating rink; to see and tour the tall ships berthed there in 1964 for Operation Sail;, or just to browse in stores lacking on our side of the Hudson. Maybe the best day was when Dad struck up a chat at the Battery pier with a New York fireman at the mooring of the NYFD fireboat – because that fireman took Dad, me, and my kid brother for a long, fascinating tour inside and out of the fireboat.

    Upon turning eighteen Manhattan and Staten Island beckoned because eighteen was New York State’s drinking age – on our side that threshold was twenty-one. Many a college-years’ revels were enjoyed in Manhattan nightspots and bars, in Greenwich Village clubs, and in Staten Island’s’ “college bars” of no small student grapevine renown to us Garden State undergrads.

    Thirty-one years ago Lady Luck brought me, on relocation of corporate headquarters workplace, from my home state out to a good-sized city in the Midwest, where I’ve since stayed because it’s just far less densely populated, much pleasanter and slower-paced, far more easygoing than where I grew up, yet here are all the attractions I’d care to have enjoyed in Gotham and its sprawling surrounds.

    Thank you, Mr. Van der Leun for plucking forth some of my “mystic chords of memory.”

  • thud January 7, 2021, 2:26 AM

    There is a time for life in a big city and a time to know when not to overstay your welcome, seems you timed it right.