The white-winged seagulls hovering over our neighborhood rooftops never fail to surprise me. Their characteristic, shrilly ha-ha-ha alarm call are a daily reminder that the ocean is close by.
After his first and only trip to New York City, in 1946, Albert Camus wrote: ‘Parfois, au-delà des gratte-ciels, le cri d’un remorqueur vous surprend dans votre insomnie, et vous vous souvenez que ce désert de fer et de ciment est une île’. (Sometimes, from beyond the skyscrapers, the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island.”)
As my husband and I were traveling on the NYC ferry recently, we spotted this lonely seagull, scouting the waters, with a dramatic cement and iron background.
It struck me again. New York is a metropolis, New York is a city, New York is an island.