Cities Quotes (4711 Quotes)


    For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they are born, the city apartment or farm in which they learnt to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they followed, the poets they read, and the God they believed in. It is all these things that have made them what they are, and these are the things that you can't come to know by hearsay...


    If you took the city of Tokyo and turned it upside down and shook it you would be amazed at the animals that fall out: badgers, wolves, boa constrictors, crocodiles, ostriches, baboons, capybaras, wild boars, leopards, manatees, ruminants, in untold numbers. There is no doubt in my mind that that feral giraffes and feral hippos have been living in Tokyo for generations without seeing a soul.


    The oyster was an animal worthy of New Orleans, as mysterious and private and beautiful as the city itself. If one could accept that oysters build their houses out of their lives, one could imagine the same of New Orleans, whose houses were similarly and resolutely shuttered against an outside world that could never be trusted to show proper sensitivity toward the oozing delicacies within.


    White folks have controlled New Orleans with money and guns, black folks have controlled it with magic and music, and although there has been a steady undercurrent of mutual admiration, an intermingling of cultures unheard of in any other American city, South or North; although there has prevailed a most joyous and fascinating interface, black anger and white fear has persisted, providing the ongoing, ostensibly integrated fete champetre with volatile and sometimes violent idiosyncrasies.



    It's like watching paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction - every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it's really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and that excitement at about a million miles an hour.





    Intelligent, thinking people could take things like this in their stride, just as they took the larger absurdities of deadly dull jobs in the city and deadly dull homes in the suburbs. Economic circumstances might force you to live in this environment, but the important thing was to keep from being contaminated. The important thing, always, was to remember who you were.


    We are all bits and pieces of history and literature and international law, Byron, Tom Paine, Machiavelli or Christ, it's here. And the hour's late. And the war's begun. And we are out here, and the city is there, all wrapped up in its own coat of a thousand colors.

    There was no moon but the night sky was a riot of crisp and glittering autumn stars. There were streetlights too and lights on buildings and on bridges which looked like earthbound stars and they glimmered repeated as they were reflected with the city in the night water of the Thames. It's fairyland thought Richard.


    But I want to see Clara, Charlie's friend, who's right up my street. I want to see her because I don't know where my street is; I don't even know which part of town it's in, which city, which country, so maybe she'll enable me to get my bearings.





    The day after his father left, Franz and his mother went into town together, and as they left home Franz noticed that her shoes did not match. He was in a quandary: he wanted to point out the mistake, but was afraid he would hurt her. So, during the two hours they spent walking through the city together he kept his eyes focused on her feet. It was then he had his first inkling of what it means to suffer.


    Sometimes when she is able to spend the night with him they are wakened by the three minarets of the city beginning their prayers before dawn. He walks with her through the indigo markets that lie between South Cairo and her home. The beautiful songs of faith enter the air like arrows, one minaret answering another, as if passing on a rumor of the two of them as they walk through the cold morning air, the smell of charcoal and hemp already making the air profound. Sinners in a holy city.

    My full name's Ed Kennedy. I'm nineteen. I'm an underage cab driver. I'm typical of many of the young men you see in this suburban outpost of the city -- not a whole lot of prospects or possibility. That aside, I read more books than I should, and I'm decidedly crap at sex and doing my taxes. Nice to meet you.

    It was Russia, January 5, 1943, and just another icy day. Out among the city and snow, there were dead Russians and Germans everywhere. Those who remained were firing into the blank pages in front of them. Three languages interwove. The Russian, the bullets, the German.

    Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can see night rising, not falling; darkness lifting into the sky, up from the horizon, like a black sun behind cloud cover. Like smoke from an unseen fire, a line of fire just below the horizon, brushfire or a burning city. Maybe night falls because it's heavy, a thick curtain pulled up over the eyes. Wool blanket.



    But people didn't have to pay as much attention to the awful truth. As the living legend of the cruel tyrant in the city and the gentle holy man in the jungle grew, so, too, did the happiness of the people grow. They were all employed full time as actors in a play they understood, that any human being anywhere could understand and applaud.

    Nobody talked much as the expedition crossed the moon. There was nothing appropriate to say. One thing was clear: Absolutely everybody in the city was supposed to be dead, regardless of what they were, and that anybody that moved in it represented a flaw in the design. There were to be no moon men at all.



    In her mind's eye she saw it, saw it all at last: the rolling armies and the flames of battle; the graves and pits and dying cries of a hundred million souls; the spreading darkness, like a black wing stretching over the earth; the last, bitter hours of cruelty and sorrow, and the terrible, final flights; death's great dominion over all, and, at the last, empty cities, becalmed by the silence of a hundred years. Already these things were coming to pass.



    The history of a city was like the history of a family-there is closeness and even affection, but death eventually separates everyone from each other. It is only the vividness of memory that keeps the dead alive forever; a writer's job is to imagine everything so personally that the fiction is as vivid as our personal memories.


    Planning is for the world's great cities, for Paris, London, and Rome, for cities dedicated, at some level, to culture. Detroit, on the other hand, was an American city and therefore dedicated to money, and so design had given way to expediency.



    I had traveled eight thousand miles around the American continent and I was back on Times Square; and right in the middle of a rush hour, too, seeing with my innocent road-eyes the absolute madness and fantastic hoorair of New York with its millions and millions hustling forever for a buck among themselves, the mad dream-grabbing, taking, giving, sighing, dying, just so they could be buried in those awful cemetery cities beyond Long Island City.

    It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.


    When you want to take over a city, you have to destroy the illusion of safety it provides. You have to hit the large well-protected establishments, find the powerful people who run them and are viewed as invincible, and kill them. You want to destroy the morale first. Once the people's resolve is gone and everyone is scared for their own skin, the city is yours.

    She was considered timid and morose. Only in the country, her skin tanned by the sun and her belly full of ripe fruit, running through the fields with Pedro Tercero, was she smiling and happy. Her mother said that that was the real Blanca, and that the other one, the one back in the city, was a Blanca in hibernation.

    I prayed for the city to be cleared of people, for the gift of being alone-a-l-o-n-e: which is the one New York prayer that rarely gets lost or delayed in channels, and in no time at all everything I touched turned to solid loneliness.




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