New York’s subways are a patchwork of swatches and layers,
of bits and pieces, slapped together until you cannot see
the fault lines for the surface, nor the surface for
the patchwork. Subway corridors, stairwells, and sidewalk entrances are known
to have disappeared, and tiled alcoves, designed to accommodate vintage
phone booths, have vanished behind newly erected walls that sprout
doors to become makeshift toolsheds. Ancient men’s rest rooms, famed
for their shady practices, have mended their ways and have
been converted into candy stands. Nothing is ever really demolished
or dismantled down below, but everything is tentative and amorphous.
Paraphrases from False Papers: Essays on Exile and Memory by André Aciman.