January 25, 1903 [New York City Skyline from the North River]

The camera, serenely afloat, gazes impassively at the docks and warehouses blandly drifting by, a smooth and absolutely uneventful—I was going to write "progress," but none exists here. This is a "motion picture" only in an all-but-unconscious sense. I suppose one could call it boring (and not do it injustice); but even as I yawn, I hem and haw, unable to dismiss this, instead deferring to the drowsy rhythm of the buildings sliding past—devoid of humanity, as if all had vanished in some apocalyptic, rapturous removal, as John Darby and the Plymouth Brethren asserted would one day come. Smoke curls from chimneys, the structures stand waiting, but only the camera remains—still delivering the moving picture to the only enthusiasts who remain: we the cinematic heathen, left to fend for ourselves in the dark—but happy in our isolation, our nickels forgotten, as we once more feed the film into the machine, and watch in a silence finally devoid of anticipation.


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