City Limits Summary

“City Limits” is the first chapter of the novel The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead. The author goes back and forth with first and second person throughout this whole chapter. From Colson Whitehead’s point of view, he talks about his life and memories living in New York City. One of his first memories was on the uptown No. 1 train looking out the window on the way to 125th Street. He also mentions that it is the early seventies, so that must have been the year he had his first memory. Whitehead also remembers that everything was filthy, but because that is how his city is, he is sticking with it. From the second person point of view, Whitehead uses it in the first paragraph guessing why the reader is living in New York. In the sixth paragraph, Whitehead mentions how the New York we live in is different and not the New York he lived in. The New York that we are living in is changing and nothing is really the same anymore. He also mentions that the city knows you better as a person than anyone else. The city remembers and sees all of what you’ve done. For Colson Whitehead, no matter if you were born here or living here, you’ll also be a New Yorker. The feelings of the city won’t become unfamiliar to you and you will be attached to it as you’re staying there.

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