Monday, February 22, 2010

sprawl at night

Someone viewing the earth from the air at night might try to read significance in the embroidery of the embers of silver and gold beads that wheel into view as you pass thousands of feet over the land. Some lines look like mysterious glyphs, a development looks like a jumping hare, small towns emerging from the darkness resemble illuminations of intercellular structures.

But the city was no glyph, no microbe. From close range, it was an animal, its connective tissues highways 6 lanes thick, its muscles packed with the long, rectangular blocks, its good and bad ideas rising stories above bedrock. I didn't know I was over Brooklyn until I saw lower Manhattan, I was disoriented thinking we'd approach from the North West. I had no idea that the coastal neighborhoods we flew over were the Staten Island beaches. And Prospect Park, I thought it was a strange lake, lit along the edges so I could see the ecology of the shallows.

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