Vertical New YorkPosted: April 3, 2012
Last night I was withdrawing cash from an ATM on Avenue A when I heard a voice a few feet away from me, although nobody was near me on the sidewalk. Seconds later, I realized that I was standing on a grate, and that beneath the grate was the basement of the restaurant I was facing. Someone was under the grate directly below me and I was overhearing him.
New York is the only American city with a meaningful vertical dimension, the only city that you experience in three dimensions on a regular basis. There are just a few other cities in the world with that quality, such as Hong Kong, and in New York it’s really only Manhattan. But I believe that aspect of it contributes enormously to the feeling of excitement that the city elicits, and it makes for a more complex relationship between people and the space they inhabit.
On that note, I’m about to begin Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York, a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for years. I plan to write a series of posts here documenting my thoughts about the text. The Kneeling Bus book club.