First rule if in doubt: "PRETEND IT ISN´T HAPPENING." (p.1/l .20)
Siri Hustvedt writes in a tone that is warm, humouring and ironical. The tone she writes in keeps you interested all the way through the essay, that is something that is quite unique and many might like it because of the fact that the topic of the essay has a very large target audience. Many other writers that were given the same task to explain the experiences and life in an urban city would probably write the essay in a more negative and judging tone than Siri Hustvedt has done. Even though some of the things she writes about, like how New Yorkers ignore some of the things they experience, how they can seem a bit unfriendly and the extremely passive way they handle problems, could easily be described much more negatively than it is in this case. I think it can be hard for people who have not experienced the urban life style to understand that you have to change to live successfully in an urban society, because the society in the city is very different than in smaller towns, in the city you just have to survive and hope for the best. The level of speed in the city is much higher and the streets are cold and hard. The streets and subways are not pleasant places to travel, the citizens of New York just want to get from one place to another as fast as humanly possible. Traveling in New York is no joyride. The things that can seem rude to outsiders, is probably just everyday life for the New Yorkers (not meant in a negative way).
On the subway, most people are strangers to each other, but once in a while, we get some of these strange stories like the one with the wild-eyed-preacher, the one with the spitting plastic-bag-man, the one with the token-less-bathrobe-lady, the one with the cigarette-contrast-conflict, the one with the ogling-admirer-declaration, or the one with the drunken-dinner-date. The New Yorkers do not...