“In the end, nobody can truly know New York. It is too large, too various, too layered, too dense. Even the oldest New Yorker knows that it is a fool’s game to claim to know the city.” In “On New York” by Pete Hamill, the author goes to great lengths to explain his thesis that New York is a place that nobody can ever understand, no matter how long they spend studying it. I believe the author thoroughly supported this thesis in his essay, and conveyed it to the reader in such a way that I too feel now that New York is a very hard-to-define place even if I haven’t ever been there before. He talks about its diversity, the specific parts of the city, the history; he even talks about the odd sense of humor of ‘New Yorkers’. His use of rhetorical strategies, such as his abstract and concrete diction, descriptive details, and repetition, in his piece carry on his thesis while also intriguing and pulling in the reader.
Pete Hamill’s diction in this essay is thoroughly developed and important to truly understanding the writing. “The city itself is a series of hamlets, each neighborhood carrying its own legends, lore, hierarchies and institutions. You can enter them, and gaze at their various wonders, but only time allows you to truly know them.” The author’s technique in using all the fitting words to describe everything is incredible. Take this quote from the piece as an example; he explains how each neighborhood of every city has their own stories and do’s and do-nots. When he explains using such ornate words like, “…its own legends, lore, hierarchies and institutions…” the wonder and mystery of the words make New York sound like an historical site to search in, not a busy city. This further effectively supports Hamill’s thesis because it makes the reader start to realize that there is much more to New York then what meets the eye.
Through the author’s diction, he provides many description details that really help the reader to sense the thesis of the piece “In Washington Heights, you see young Dominican women adorned with the colors of the Caribbean, red ceramic earrings, tight white blouses bursting with the engineering of the Wonderbra, skirts that seem to have been sprayed on, and high spiked red heels: heading for church on a Sunday morning...” Through the author’s comprehensive description, the reader can almost feel that they themselves are in New York, walking by a person of this description. And for many people, that may be a strange thought because New York’s residents are often thought of as busy, snobby, businessmen and women, not colorful, creative, or cultural people. So, readers can see that there are always many more people, things, and places of New York that