From an excerpt of Edmund White’s new memoir:
I suppose that finally New York is a Broadway theatre where one play after another, decade after decade, occupies the stage and the dressing rooms – then clears out. Each play is the biggest possible deal (sets, publicity, opening-night celebrations, stars’ names on the marquee), then it vanishes. With every new play the theatre itself is just a bit more dilapidated, the walls scarred, the velvet rubbed bald, the gilt tarnished. Because they are plays and not movies, no one remembers them precisely. The actors are forgotten, the plays are just battered scripts showing coffee stains and missing pages. Nothing lasts in New York. The life that is lived there, however, is as intense as it gets.
[Funny how that’s what I take away from the whole excerpt, when there is so much else there. I like this metaphor, basically, but White says a lot of other interesting things, too, about famous people, about New York in the 70s, about being gay and promiscuous, about AIDS. I’m holding out for the paperback or ebook of City Boy, but I definitely want to read it.]