December 13, 2016

NEW YORK MAG’S DAVID WALLACE-WELLS: Trump May Have America, But the City Is Still Ours.

The city was always an asylum. On television on Election Night, the world they used was bubble. But what a bubble.

New Yorkers woke up on November 8 in what seems now like a fairy-tale fog, convinced, as ever, that the future belonged to us. By midnight, the world looked very different, the country very far away (and the future, too). Eighty percent of us had voted against the man who won, and 80 percent, it seemed, were already hatching plans to leave — for Canada or Berlin or anywhere else we imagined we could live safely among the like-minded. That was when the text messages began coming in from old friends in Wisconsin and Texas and North Carolina and Missouri. They were watching the same returns we were, in the same apocalyptic panic, and all making desperate plans to come to New York. For them, the city was still the same fairy tale.

And for us, those 80 percent in denial and despair, the city itself was a consolation. The human traffic on the streets that next morning was funereal, but it did proceed, commuters stuffed shoulder-­to-shoulder on subway cars, crying. More amazing, here: They were looking each other in the eye as they bawled. There were hugs among strangers, and many more bleary-eyed nods, on streets that seemed dusted with ash. It was a bubble, of course, but after the election, the city unbubbled us too — popped us out of our blister packs of despair.

Man, you went full Pauline Kael. You never go full Pauline Kael.

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