The cover story of this week’s New York magazine, the year-end double issue, is “Reasons to Love New York (Especially Right Now).” It’s the fourth time that the magazine has run the feature, but the first time that a Chicagoan has figured so largely in it.
You see, the magazine’s number one reason to love New York right now is that “Obama is one of us, despite all that business about Chicago.” After noting that other presidents in the last half-century have lived in New York before assuming the presidency (Kennedy, Nixon, Bush I), the article argues that none of these men were really “of New York. The city did not make help make them who they were.” Not so with Barack Obama:
Barack Obama, on the other hand, deliberately chose New York as a young man, transferring his junior year from Occidental College to Columbia, and all one has to do is crack the binding of Dreams From My Father to appreciate the authenticity of his experience. It’s all right there in chapter one, paragraph one, sentence four. “The apartment was small,” he writes, “with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn’t work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle.” Before readers have even turned the page, he’s mentioned his stoop, his fire escape, and the Knicks.