1:55 p.m. today. Landed at JFK, headed north on I-678. Sweltering. I turn on the radio and crank it -- hot Latin tunes followed by Michael Jackson. The East Coast urban edge comes flooding back. Guys playing basketball inside chain-link fence. Cars up on blocks. You can fry an egg on the sidewalk.
But the greatest thing is the infrastructure. The biggest legacy systems collection in the world. Huge bridges they don't even bother to keep painted. Massively parallel apartment buildings. Sleek, silver elevated trains cruising above concrete-and-steel jungles from the 1920s and '50s. A spaghetti of highways and rail yards and warehouses, then off in the distance, the shining, towering city it all exists for.