This is Not ‘New York City’

 

The above photograph is not New York City. It is  a photograph of New York City.

So what is ‘New York City’?

I don’t recognize Manhattan anymore, the home of my wanton youth. New buildings, bars, restaurants. SOHO used to be a truck- stop before Gucci moved in. The hole-in-the-wall bars were a place for good, cheap beer, genuinely starving artists, the occasional erudite hooker and others of ambiguous gender.

So what is ‘New York City’?

Call the Mayor’s office and take a Surveyor with you for a walk along the East River. Where does Manhattan begin? The sand along the  river’s edge has long moved on, the shrubs of last year now replaced by new ones. The water in the river today has no memory of the water that flowed yesterday. [See: ‘Cratylus‘]

So what is ‘New York City’? A confounding snarl of sign, symbol, name, map, copy and terrain.

‘New York City’ is a reference, an Idea.