“From the ruins, lonely, inexplicable as the Sphinx, rose the Empire State Building” from “My Lost City” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. For the rest of the quote for his poetic retelling of the crash scroll down.
The Empire State Building (begun in 1929, the year of the crash, and finished in 1931, one year before Fitzgerald published his retrospective essay on the 1920s in New York) is an iconic part of the NYC skyline. What is your favorite NYC skyscraper? Let me know in the comments. I can never decide between the Woolworth Building and the Chrysler Building. Did you know the skyscraper was invented in Chicago? More on that, and the competition between Chicago and New York in future posts, but here is the full quote from Fitzgerald.
“From the ruins, lonely and inexplicable as the sphinx, rose the Empire State Building and, just as it had been a tradition of mine to climb to the Plaza Roof to take leave of the beautiful city, extending as far as eyes could reach, so now I went to the roof of the last and most magnificent of towers. Then I understood—everything was explained: I had discovered the crowning error of the city, its Pandora’s box. Full of vaunting pride the New Yorker had climbed here and seen with dismay what he had never suspected, that the city was not the endless succession of canyons that he had supposed, but that it had limits—from the tallest structure he saw for the first time that it faded out into the country on all sides, into an expanse of green and blue that alone was limitless. And with all the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe, the whole shining edifice that he had reared in his imagination came crashing to the ground. That was the rash gift of Alfred E. Smith to the citizens of New York.”
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