New York & Happiness

Then there’s the question of the hedonic treadmill, such a demonic little term, so vivid, so apt. Isn’t that what New York, the city of 24-hour gyms, is? More charitably put, one could say that New York is a city of aspirants, the destination people come to to realize dreams. And of course we should feel indebted to the world’s dreamers (and I thank each and every one, for creating jet travel, indoor plumbing, The Simpsons), but there’s a line between heartfelt aspiration and a mindless state of yearning. Darrin McMahon, the author of Happiness: A History, shrewdly points out that the Big Apple is a perfect moniker for the city: “The apple is the cause of the fall of human happiness,” he says. “It’s the symbol of that desire for something more. Even though paradise was paradise, they were still restless.”

Jennifer Senior: Some dark thoughts on happiness (New York Magazine)