I was watching ‘The Cruise‘, a documentary with Timothy “Speed” Levitch who gives tours of Manhattan. The following rough transcript from the movie reminded me of several thoughts. One idea is the effect symmetrical grid plans have on humans in large cities. This is the major difference between US and European cities, the latter built many years earlier tend not to have a grid-like design. Living in ‘the grid’ definitely had an impact on my consciousness. The efficiency of it all could drive one mad. The districting of residential and commercial districts in the US, which isolates the two areas and lifestyles, also has a large impact on a person’s state of mind as well as physical being. The second thought was related to a brief discussion I had with the Sheik and his mighty half about the intention to not repeat the mistakes one’s parents had made in raising their children. Keeping these seemingly unrelated ideas in your mind, I present to you the ever philosophical Timothy Levitch.
[Timothy points to a comforter in New York City where a homeless person is sleeping.]
The image makes me think of a conversation with this woman the other day. She was a fastidious Judaic type woman in very sexual slacks and we were talking about the grid plan. I made the comment about how, you know, the grid plan emanates an amount of weaknesses, this layout of avenues and streets in New York City, these ninety degree angles. To me the grid plan is puritanical, it’s homogenizing, in a city where there is no homogenization available. There is only total existence, total cacophony, total flowing of human ethnicity, tribes, and beings, gradations of awareness, and consciousness and cruising. And this woman turns to me and she goes ‘Oh, I never even thought of that’ she goes ‘I can’t imagine it. Everyone likes the grid plan!’ And the question is of course, who is everyone? I mean, this is what I had just said.
And whoever that is under the white comforter, cuddle up with 34th street and Broadway, existing on the concrete of this city hungry and disheveled, struggling to crawl their way onto this island with all their rages and hellishness and self orchestrated purgatories. What does that person think about the grid plan? Probably much more on my plane of thinking, my gradation of being, which is let’s just blow up the grid plan and rewrite the streets to be much more of a self portraiture of our personal struggles rather than some real-estate brokers wet dream from 1807. We’re forced to walk in these right angles, I mean doesn’t she find it infuriating? By being so completely allegianced to the grid plan I think most noteworthy is this idiom, ‘I can’t even imagine changing the grid plan’. She’s really aligning herself with this civilization, it’s like ‘I can’t imagine altering this civilization. I can’t imagine altering this meek reality that rules our lives. I can’t imagine standing up on a chair in a room and changing my perspective. I can’t imagine changing my mind on anything. I, in the end, can’t imagine having my own identity that contradicts other identities.’ What she says to me after my statements, ‘everyone likes the grid plan’, isn’t she automatically excluding myself from everyone? ‘How could you not like plan?’ So functional. Take a right turn, a right turn, and right turn, and then there is a red light, a green light, and a yellow light. It’s symmetrical.
By saying that ‘everyone likes the grid plan’, you’re saying I am going to relive all the mistakes my parents made. I am going to identify and relive all the sorrows my mother ever lived through. I will propagate and create dysfunctional children in the same dysfunctional way that I was raised. I will spread neurosis throughout the landscape and do my best to recreate myself and the damages of my life in the next generation.