Heavy darkness comes on fast when you’re leaving New York City in the rain, and the place you’re going just isn’t going to comfort you the way that New York City always will. Woody Allen said of of New York City that it’s the only place where he can get Chinese duck soup in the middle of the night. He doesn’t want it, Chinese duck soup, because who needs such a thing in the middle of the night—but he likes that he can get it.
The streets of New York City are never empty. Somewhere a light is always turned on. It’s a kind of glow, a stubborn restlessness (I don’t need to sleep and I don’t want to sleep); it’s the refusal to abide a noiseless state, anything other than a state of intimate strangeness (none of this is mine and somehow all of this is mine), and it’s this particular New York City thing that wraps me up like a crisp new sheet at night, switches the nightlight on and leaves a glass of cold water beside my bed, a well-worn novel on the nightstand. How could anything happen to me in such a place?