I am presently reading Psmith in the City by P.G. Wodehouse [from the omnibus: The world of Psmith] and I came across this passage:
It [London] took no notice of him. It did not care whether he was glad to be there or sorry, and there was no means of making it care. That is the peculiarity of Londin. There is a sort of cold unfriendliness about it. A city like New York make the new arrival feel at home in half an hour; but London is a specialist in what Psmith in his letter had called the distant stare. You have to buy London's good-will.Psmith in the City was first published in 1910.
It is amazing how the character of a city stays the same over such a long time. For example, there are so many people (ancient, old, and young) from Pune who talk about its unique "puneri" character.
Is it the same with our own Mumbai? Was Mumbai always the same?
What is it that decides a city's character? People? Institutions? And do, over a period of time, new people coming into the city buy in into the city's "known" persona? Does a city's character gradually become something similar to a "self fulfilling prophecy?"