From the American Scene: Make Mine Manhattan

I AM not quite a classic case. When I stepped off the train at Pennsylvania Station in September 1946, I…

I am not quite a classic case. When I stepped off the train at Pennsylvania Station in September 1946, I was not carrying my few but spotless possessions in a cardboard suitcase; there were not even metaphorical bits of straw sticking to my clothes. I was not a fresh-faced innocent, the prototype of Nathanael West’s hero in A Cool Million, about to be sacrificed to the wicked city, nor the male counterpart of the girl who sang, “You’d not dare molest me, sir, if Jack were only here.” I was familiar with the surfaces, at least, of Chicago, San Francisco, London, Paris; I had even passed through New York City once—on my way to Europe and the war—and stopped long enough to eat a lobster and to see the last two acts of a bad play (Diana Barrymore in Rebecca).

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From the American Scene: Make Mine Manhattan

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