When I was a kid, the cities of Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee seemed as big and funky as a city could be. When I read fiction (as I did) about cities, I plugged the sights and sounds and smells of these mid-sized Tennessee cities into the books' descriptions of New York or wherever. I grew older, and found that mid-sized cities seemed more placid and manageable as I grew in size and experience. I assumed that the overpowering richness and immensity of The City had been, in part, a matter of my childhood size and inexperience, and I would never see the city as such an overwhelming thing again.
Last week we went to New York, and it made me feel the way those Tennessee cities used to make me feel. It's exactly what New York is cracked up to be. I'm grateful.