I tried to explain some in comments on Friday what I mean by calling the city a "problem."  I think E.L. Doctorow does a much better job of it below, and Ric Burns' New York (from which this clip is taken) is a tour de force in the city as a "problem." I'll say no more so as not to ruin it. Doctorow is my favorite novelists, and a literary hero of mine. He just kills it in this clip.