“New York enobles the smallest task”

James Lileks describes Manhattan:

you do feel like a Man of the World sometimes when you’re poking through the produce at Smiler’s or Dean and Delucca. The big city growling outside, the unpredictable clientele, the stolid storekeeper, the mix of chaos and order, the skyscraper lights, the smear of dusk in the indistinct distance – New York enobles the smallest task. I never feel more cosmopolitan than when I’m getting supplies at this grocery in the Roosevelt Hotel or the thin typical joint across from the Millennium, right up to the moment when they tell me I owe them $36.93 for muffins and a beer. There’s just a buzz in these places, be it ten PM or 8 AM. The city is full of juice and it spills into every shop. A steam table with fried rice and Knickerbocker beer and Danish candy and fresh oranges and big Rice Krispee bars in Saran Wrap and the great calamitous kaleidoscope of Manhattan just yards away.

Let’s Take a Ride and Run with the Dogs Tonight,” James Lileks, August 31, 2005