You may have wondered about the odd “Shadowland” mood piece in Sunday’s New York Times about a “a film noir night in New York” in the dead of which the author imagines himself a detective haunting “the Upper West Side, the land of coffee shops and bookstores,” and announces that “the city does not overwhelm us with its style as much as it amazes us with its attitude.” It was written by Alexander Aciman, identified as “a student at the University of Chicago,” who has been writing for the Times since his days at Horace Mann.
After making his bones in the New York Sun, where as a junior he described his days in Paris (“the capital of human life, the capital of love… where eye contact is quotidian”), Aciman regaled Times readers with an account of his school track team’s adventures in Van Cortlandt Park, and later told how New York stirred his senses to recall foreign cities (“at one moment I am in Paris… in another I am in Venice or in Budapest”). It is a daunting reminder to ambitious wordsmiths that Times literary journalists are specially bred, like show dogs or Olympic gymnasts. Now, back to scrounging our RSS feeds.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 10, 2008