The inevitable change was almost complete

“New Yorks come and go so quickly that literature has trouble keeping up with them. From Washington Irving to Poe to Melville to Whitman to Edith Wharton, somebody’s ‘old New York’ has always been turning into a new city. Joseph Mitchell became its chronicler as F. Scott Fitzgerald was leaving the scene, and Mitchell’s city would have absolutely none of the gauzy romantic charm of Fitzgerald’s. Fitzgerald’s New York was a 1920 prairie boy’s dream of white towers and gloriously desirable girls, but Daisy Buchanan already belonged to a past as remote as Lillian Russell and Boss Tweed on the day Mitchell arrived in town. That was October 25, 1929. The stock market had crashed the day before.”

Posted September 13, 2001

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