Gearing up for a weekend trip to New York City, my longtime love.
The city has changed dramatically through the years, while its energy and frantic chaos remain the same.
As The New York Times documented in a special section recently, the Manhattan skyline looks far different now then it did even five years ago.
Resembling War of the Worlds aliens, monstrous skyscrapers have risen, blighting street life below. The soaring towers' owners, Mideastern and Eastern Europe billionaires, buy the high-rise apartments as money-laundering vehicles. The ghostly units above the clouds mostly stay vacant. Below the buildings' shadows, small retailers flee, leaving empty storefronts even on Fifth Avenue.
New York's soul shines at the New York Public Library,the Frick, Broadway and off Broadway theaters, the Morgan, the Museum of Modern Art and other places. They too are beset by plans and new directions, while their essence survives.
With rising seas, dominance of the ultra-rich and destruction of the middle class, the city's future looks troubled. At certain moments, when the light softens at Central Park or the curtain rises on a new show, New York's magic feels eternal.