Hell’s Kitchen

The New Yorker has just published my decription of a descent into midtown with the Italian actor Roberto Benigni as my Virgil.

It begins:

For the record, the Italian actor Roberto Benigni does not believe that New Yorkers are going to Hell. “I hope they go to Paradise, every one of them,” he said last Thursday, in the back seat of a taxi, blinking against the swish and roar of traffic. But that might be because he thinks it’s a journey the city’s residents have already made. “This is the beginning of Hell,” he said. “The deeper we go, the greater the range of utterances of grief and fury we will hear. Different colors of people. Slang! Obscenity! Curses! Sighs! Keening!” He paused while a van blasted its air horn. “This is really the sound of Hell,” he said. “But we need to pass through the Inferno to reach Paradise.”

read the rest.