THE GREAT PORT by James Morris


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The well travelled, ebullient Mr. Morris, veteran of many admirable travelogues and histories (Pax Brittanica, for example, 1968) was commissioned by Mr. Austin Tobin, Amon Ra of the Port of New York Authority, to ""write a book about it all,"" ""it all"" being, happily, of misty boundaries. Mr. Morris took to his task with the confidence of a conqueror, all flags flying. First a round on a helicopter, viewing the splendors of bay, islands, ships. But Mr. Morris is transported by agents other than mere machines: ""The sunsets of New York are the horizontal sort . . . slashing sweeps of pink and crimson . . . to lie like a sumptuous edible. . . ."" Then on to history, an exploration of the ""archipelago,"" the many functionaries of the Port on sea, land and the airways, the inlets, piers, ships, tunnels, subways, buses, bridges, railroads and canals, into the interior, and so presumably to bed to mull. Socio-philosophical-poetical comment is inevitable: ""Sometimes I thought that nothing was real. . . . At other times I was haunted by the pathos . . . I loathed it (the port has become The City) like a lover."" A flying plunge from the sea to inner city statistics, an intimate excitement in personal discovery of the enigma of the island city, and for New Yorkers, entombed in the canyons, a bit of blue sky and salt spray.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1969
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World