The sidewalks of the city are a canvas on which the life of the city is represented. Every piece of that canvas is filled with elements – points, lines, curves, shaded areas, inscriptions. Its structure is one of a graphic diagram. How do we interpret this diagram? It seems to make most sense to interpret it as a representation of an overall urban condition of which it is part – the city.
In this particular piece of sidewalk, the elements are rich and diverse. On the gray background of the asphalt there are bigger and smaller dots of various sizes and color, a long curved line passing through, and a bigger, organic shaped area of homogenous color. Their configuration is reminiscent of a city. The curved line is a river cutting through the urban area, as rivers tend to. In the dense urban fabric there are openings – public spaces and important buildings. And the city’s plan is dominated by a large irregular structure – a park or a fortress, with other smaller public spaces scattered inside.
Like in a city, the layers of the sidewalk represent different times. The dots came before the spill of the park. The river was there before the dots. It is easy to read the history of this diagrammatic city.
Can this image be New York City? Or is it a different version of New York, a parallel universe in which Central Park is a big organic spill in the center of a radial city structure? I wonder how many of these cities, these versions, are out there on the sidewalks of New York? It seems that it could be a whole universe of diagrammatic cities, a network of graphic urban tissue, existing simultaneously with the life of the metropolis. Ancient Cities, Medieval Cities, Ideal cities, Utopian cities, Modernist Cities, Avant-garde cities, Collage cities – they are all inscribed under the feet of the city, representing different cultures that come together in the form of its population, visitors, history, influences. They are New York.