Not the Precursor

E.B. White “Here is New York”

The subtlest change in New York is something people don’t speak much about but that is in everyone’s mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.

All over the World Wide Web are comments on the prescience of this passage from a 1948 essay. These retrospective prophet seekers lack an historical imagination (and the willpower to do a simple search on planes, buildings and popular culture). For it is evident that the informing event is the crash of 1945 into the Empire State Building. And there’s a 1977 book by Arthur Weingarten The Sky is Falling.

And so for day 1660

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