I don’t know what it is that makes me such a sucker for old things. Although it’s not my bag, I understand the impulse that leads people to collect old soda bottles or pictures of baseball players from their grandparents’ day — or old soda bottles with pictures of said ballplayers. One of the reasons I like Providence so much is that you can wander around Federal Hill or College Hill, surrounded by the buildings worn down by hundreds of years of mildly seedy history. It’s tangible. The obscenely talented James Lileks devotes his attention to the Midwest of his youth and glimpses of the faded past. I have no desire to ever go to Disneyland, but I could read Yesterland for hours. Old girlie calendars, old country singers, old buildings, old pulp novels, all the cultural detrius of the twentieth century holds more attraction to me than the recognized artifacts of real historical importance. There’s something touching about ephemera that’s passed its appointed hour. But the air of importance we attatch to anything a few years old, anything which speaks of our connection to an exclusive cognoscenti who know just which blues guitarists or starlets or brands of bubble gum hold cachet through being nigh-forgotton is ridiculous, too. Which is why The New York that Really Never Was is such a brilliant sendup of the kind of inside skivvy, the appreciation for history of the absurd, dished out by people like me. Someday I’ll go to New York and I’ll find the hidden speakeasy, preserved through neglect, that contains those "golden coffers…filled with remnants of departed partygoers as an even more morbid momento mori." None