Thoroughly Modern Manhattan
Nineteen-o'-nine was the last full year in the life of one of the greatest chroniclers of New York who ever lived. William S. Porter, known to the world as O. Henry, was the master of the short story with the surprise ending. When I was a child, I would sometimes play a game in which I imagined that a historical figure had come back to life, and I'd take him 'round the modern world, amazing him with its wonders. Sitting in the center section of a jumbo jet the other day coming in to JFK airport, I glanced at the empty seat beside me and began to play the game again. What, I wondered, if O. Henry were here, would he think of New York today? Read Essay.