"A poem compresses much in a small space and adds music, thus heightening its meaning. The city (New York) is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races, and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines."
Question: does "all life" refer to all human experience, as in "Life is hard" or refer to living things as in "Is there life on other planets"? Thanks.
I think he means all the busy busy busy activity of the inhabitants that goes on, what we refer to when we speak of 'the life' of a city, what makes it tick and go, the throbbing heart of a city.