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I said I had always assumed that the skyline was shaped by human considerations-commercial, historical, ethnic. Who could imagine a Little Italy in a skyscraper, a linoleum warehouse up in the clouds? The towers of midtown, as one might imagine, were emplaced in substantial rock, Anita said-rock that once had been heated near the point of melting, had recrystallized, had been heated again, had recrystallized, and, while not particularly competent, was more than adequate to hold up those buildings. Most important, it was right at the surface. You could see it, in all its micaceous glitter, shining like silver in the outcrops of flexplek huren schiphol Central Park. Four hundred and fifty million years in age, it was called Manhattan schist. All through midtown, it
Book 2: In Suspect Terrain was at or near the surface, but in the region south of Thirtieth Street it began to fall away, and at Washington Square it descended abruptly. The whole saddle between midtown and Wall Street would be undeiwater, were it not filled with many tens of fathoms of glacial till. So there sat Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown, on material that could not hold up a great deal more than a golf tee-on the ground-up wreckage of the Ramapos, on crushed Catskill, on odd bits of Nyack and Tenafly. In the Wall Street area, the bedrock does not return to the surface, but it comes within forty feet and is accessible for the footings of the tallest things in town. New York grew high on the advantage of its hard rock, and, New York being what it is, cities all over the world have attempted to resemble it. The skyline of flexplek huren utrecht nuclear Houston, for example, is a simulacrum of Manhattan’s. Houston rests on twelve thousand feet of montmorillonitic clay, a substance that, when moist, turns into mobile jelly. After taking so much money out of the ground, the oil companies of Houston have put hundreds of millions back in. Houston is the world’s foremost city in fat basements. Its tall buildings are magnified duckpins, bobbing in their own mire.