I read an essay by Rachel Syme in which she describes her friend feeling constrained by the city. "What am I building in New York?" the friend asks. Rachel responded in true New York fashion, with a reference to real estate. The Empire State Building, actually, which went empty and unprofitable for 20 years after completion: "I didn't know what to tell him then, but this is what I would tell him now. In New York, you are demanded to build yourself. The environment calls for it. You build on pure speculation, a foundation up from the salty bedrock built upon something that was there before, as many stories high as you want to go, as fast as you can get there. It is possible to fail, possible to outpace yourself, to not turn a profit, to remain empty inside with your lights still blazing for show. But when it works, what you build becomes a beacon. Here is our poetry. Here are the stars bending to our will. Here we are touching them."
(a snippet of a lovely email sent my way yesterday)