It’s easy to identify with these passages, in a New Yorker sort of way.
From Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer:
When I think of New York I have a very different feeling. New York makes even a rich man feel his unimportance. New York is cold, glittering, malign. The buildings dominate. There is a sort of atomic frenzy to the activity going on; the more furious the pace, the more diminished the spirit. A constant ferment, but it might just as well be going on in a test tube. Nobody knows what it’s all about. Nobody directs the energy. Stupendous. Bizarre. Baffling. A tremendous reactive urge, but absolutely uncoordinated.
…A whole city erected over a hollow pit of nothingness. Meaninglessness. Absolutely meaningless. And Forty-Second Street! The top of the world, they call it. Where’s the bottom then? You can walk along with your hands out and they’ll put cinders in your cap. Rich or poor, they walk along with head thrown back and they almost break their necks looking up at their beautiful white prisons. They walk along like blind geese and the searchlights spray their empty faces with flecks of ecstasy.
And from William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses:
no kin to him at all yet more than kin as those who serve you even for pay are your kin and those who injure you are more than brother or wife
Picture credit: Andrew Mace // CC BY NC SA 2.0