Other Ten Percent 4/18/14

Apr 18 2014

I feel like in singing the praises of LA yesterday I was maybe unnecessarily harsh on New York by proxy. I mean the BLDGblog post reverses the usual ordering of great american cities to the point where CHICAGO beats it and that just seems unnecessarily cruel.
New York’s the only city I’ve ever had to have a bad breakup with. San Francisco was a largely amicable separation. Sure we still talked shit about each other and still do really but things largely moved forward as best they could. Leaving Georgia wasn’t a breakup so much as the third act of Misery. There’s something about New York though where it never has as much of a psychic hold on you as when you leave. The feeling New York naturally gives you, where you forget there even is a rest of the world to go to sometimes, amps up to 11. The exact details vary from person to person but pretty much everybody I know who’s left has said some variation on the same thing: that in some fundamentally different way from other cities New York DOESN’T WANT YOU TO LET YOU LEAVE.
So, naturally, I’ve been kinda down on the town ever since I realized I was mostly likely never going to call it home again and kinda moved on. It’s hard to feel superior to New York, a town that will pretty much always be anthropomorphized as the quarterback or the head cheerleader depending on your orientation, but you can figure out it was never a good match for you or a lot of people and there’s a sort of zen superiority in that.
Wow, that was a lot of talking shit about New York in my explanation of why I talk shit about New York too much. Point is, even though I think me and New York pretty much have our theme song mapped out already that doesn’t mean I can’t make my peace with the place and I think part of that means seeing it in a fundamentally different way the way you kind of have to with your exes.
So let’s literalize that process because as a Buffy fan I’m contractually obligated to literalize all metaphors. Like let’s look at the city by drone and consider how different New York appears to be at 10, 100 and 1000 feet since these three videos seem to be fascinated with the city at very different heights and the higher you go the more imposing the place seems. At 10 feet it feels constantly alive with motion in a way it doesn’t even at ground level where you’re kinda busy not knocking into anybody. At 100 feet it seems kinda quaint, you sorta realize how small of a town New York really is on a grand cosmic scale but then somehow at 1000 feet the whole place seems gigantic, just row after row of buildings that show no evident sign of life, like a recording of what aliens will find if they show up reasonably soon after we wipe ourselves out. (Man tonight’s entry got DARK. Note: watch Hannibal AFTER I write OTP.)
Then if we want to pull back even further here’s the traffic pattern of every Citi Bike ride for 48 hours. It’s a stripped down view of everything you can know about one very specific part of city life and it makes you kinda feel like God in the same kinda boring way Sim City games do. Suddenly I want to write a whole non-fiction book that’s interviewing people who ride Citi Bike at 3 in the morning. Are they all just 22 year olds that can stay out that late drunk or do some of them have like…jobs? But what I love about that video is that there are bumps in activity but it’s really a kind of relative term. It’s not like there’s a bike “rush hour” so much as a very basic question: is more than a 10th of the population of New York awake? Well then Citi Bike rides are going FUCKING INSANE.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply