Tracking NewYorkCity Personal Project

City: New York City
Type: CAD-drawings
Scope: Plotted plans

Hardware used: Garmin eTrex Legend H, Apple MacBook Pro.
Software used: EasyGPS, Microsoft Excel, Rhinoceros (Grasshopper), Adobe Illustrator.

“Welcoming me already with a grey barren concrete border while driving along the highway with your skyline in the distance reminding more of bar charts in a datasheet than a naturally grown city, this threshold stays your underlying theme, with your ever increasing fetish for security controls and identity checks in your buildings and bars. And still everything gravitates towards you swallowing all your contradictions in your homogenous grid of pixels and light, where the possibility of getting lost is here sadly reduced to the ignorance of reading what is lying so obviously in front of you.”

Spending one week in New York City allowed me only to concentrate on discovering Manhattan itself as I was staying south of Central Park and Manhattan having enough to offer for me and my interests in art and architecture. My tracks are therefore limited to the peninsula so far, which is immediately recognisable in the map with its elongated shape. The Central Park itself forms another geometric shape inside the city next to the north-south running avenues, which seem to cut the city into strips of fading or rising interest depending on your movement towards or away the centre. Manhattan seemed to be the best organized city I have been in so far, it seemed nearly impossible to get lost once you grasped the organisational layout of its plan. One of the things I love about living in bigger cities, the possibility to get lost every now and then, was here sadly reduced to the ignorance of reading the city, which was lying so obvious in front of you. The Broadway being one of the few exceptions of the rule as a diagonal crossing the otherwise rectangular organised streets is directly visible starting west of the Central Park cutting its way downtown.

While I was in New York City I was confronted with another interference in tracking my ways, due to the high-rises in Manhattan it was getting difficult to get a clean GPS-signal, leading to a lot of irregularities that are in this way not part of my physical experience but a result of technical errors inscribing themselves into my trails. The same situation occurs apparently in contrast while travelling through narrow streets often found in smaller villages. The drawings of the different cities are all drawn in the same scale to make a comparison more easily; here you can see that although New York City has a larger population than London it is actually inhabiting a smaller area, its topological expansion being naturally limited due to it consisting of peninsulas surrounded by water.

For further reading on the subject follow the links for Berlin, London and Paris.

All images on this page copyright Tristan D. Grey.