Design, London, Travel

City Quotes

Very rarely do achieve the 0 inbox. I archive everything and try to be awesome about replying to important messages. I’m always going for 0 but it’s a rare occasion that I get there. Upon this celebration, I decided to clear out the 9 half written letters in my drafts as well.

I’ve had an email titled London Quotes in that folder since 2007. Every time I go to clean up my drafts, I leave this one email there. I’ve had nowhere else to put these short summaries of what a very special time of my life was like on the Thames. So world, here they are.

You are now In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow
At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore
Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more.
Yet in its depth what treasures!
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

“I came to London. It had become the center of my world and I had worked hard to come to it. And I was lost.”
-VS Naipaul

This melancholy London—I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air.
– William Butler Yeats

IMG_6348.JPGOne would think London was a depressing, upsetting unhappy place but it was quite the opposite. London is a glorious place. Be whomever you wish to be there and do whatever you like to do.  I learned more about myself there than I had anywhere else prior. London is a different kind of city. It’s magnificent and impossible and that’s what makes it fantastic. You can float through it and be completely lost and found all at the same time.

In August 2010 I created a new email drafts called City Quotes. Anyone who knows me, knows I love urban centers. My goal is to collect a quote about each city I’ve fallen in love with and do an art piece. I kept these quotes in my email drafts so I would continue be reminded they exist instead of getting lost in a Google Doc somewhere. The idea for this project still exists but it needs to live in public now.

It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago-she outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them. She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.
-Mark Twain “Life On The Mississippi,” 1883

There are almost no beautiful cities in America, though there are many beautiful parts of cities, and some sections that are glorious without being beautiful, like downtown Chicago. Cities are too big and too rich for beauty; they have outgrown themselves too many times.
-Noel Perrin, Third Person Rural

And now I have zero emails and zero drafts. Guess I better start working on that project.



Nina Mehta is a writer and product design leader in Brooklyn, New York. She began her design career in journalism and has been writing online for 20+ years. Nina is from outside Chicago and has since lived and worked in San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Tokyo. Learn about Nina at