Unfolding the City

Spectacle

Posted in Architecture, Journal, Theory by Chris on Sunday, September 27th, 2009

I’ve made it back from Oktoberfest all in once piece. It was quite a whirlwind, but I finally feel like I’m back in Paris. I’ll post about the fest later in the week; I don’t want to think much more about all the beer that I just drank. I’m starting studio and regular classes tomorrow; I’m really excited. I wrote this piece over the summer in New York City and I really enjoy what I’ve found.

Times Square Red StepsSo I am sitting over Times Square in the Marriott having a drink. I’m looking at the new TKTS booth – it consists of red, lit steps down on the street. One of the functions of the stairs is to take pictures of the street from an elevated level. This isn’t immediately apparent. In a particularly funny way, the stairs stand for what Times Square is all about. People on the street watch people take pictures from the steps and they are attracted to it. They want to go because so many others are there taking pictures. Once they get to the top, they realize the purpose of the stairs: to view the spectacle of Times Square from an elevated level. By being at a spectacle of Times Square and viewing the spectacle of Times Square, one feels a part of it.

I have recently talked to my friends in Paris about the moth instinct that we seem to have. It could be a human fear of darkness, but I’ve always found that when I am lost it is best to go towards the light. I don’t know if these steps have to do with that, but maybe the excess light is a comforting property of Times Square.

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