From the ruins, lonely & as inexplicable as the sphinx, rose the Empire State Building. And just as it had been a tradition of mine to climb to the plaza roof to take leave of the beautiful city, extending as far as the eyes could reach, so now I went to the roof of the last & most magnificent of towers. Then I understood. Everything was explained. I had discovered the crowning error of the city; it’s Pandora’s box. Full of vanity, pride, the New Yorker had climbed here and seen with dismay what he had never suspected. That the city was not the endless succession of canyons that he had supposed, but that it had limits, fading out into the country on all sides into an expanse of green and blue that alone was limitless. And with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe, the while shining edifice that he had reared in his imagination came crashing to the ground. That was the gift that Alfred Smith gave to the citizens of New York.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, excerpt from My Lost City