a view of new york

“They arrived in a region that sloped upward, and each time they halted and looked back, they could see the panorama of New York, with its harbor, stretching out ever farther. The bridge connecting New York to Boston hung delicately over the Hudson and trembled if one narrowed one’s eyes. It appeared to bear no traffic, and a long, smooth, lifeless strip of water stretched out underneath. In both of these giant cities everything appeared empty and erected to no avail. And there was scarcely any difference between large and small buildings. Down in the invisible depths of the streets life probably went on as usual, but all they could see above them was a light haze that was motionless yet seemed easy to chase away. Peace had even descended on the harbor, the largest in the world, and only here and there – perhaps influenced by the memory of vessels seen from close up – could one see a ship dragging itself forward a little. Yet one could not follow it for long; it escaped one’s gaze and disappeared.”

(Franz Kafka, Amerika: The Missing Person, trans. Mark Harman, p. 96.)

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