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Vertical New York

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.

4 Comments on “Vertical New York”

  1. This post made think of Will Eisner’s New York: Life In The Big City. A great collection of the memory and space of big cities.

  2. how nice to be looking forward to reading a thing for years and then to be reading that thing!

    what a world we livin’

  3. Nichol Caddingham says:

    Reblogged this on Modern Gentleman and commented:
    The blog of a friend who has more interesting observations and better researched opinions about the world in which we live than I do.

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