Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
As pessoas falam duoletos, consensos temporários, criados, sobre a base comum da língua inglesa com estilhaços de espanhol e centenas de outros idiomas. Estive em lugares coalhados de placas frontais de estabelecimentos italianos, tailandeses, chineses. No metrô vi gente lendo periódicos indianos, eslavos, latinos, árabes, japoneses. Se eu morasse aqui meu idioleto seria o portospanglish.
Para que pudesse existir um mínimo de compreensão nesse labirinto babélico, os quarteirões foram matematicamente alinhados em um sistema urbano abstrato, segundo a simbologia universal dos números. "Essa simplificação radical do conceito é a fórmula secreta que permite seu crescimento infinito sem uma perda correspondente de legibilidade, intimidade ou coesão." (Rem Koolhas, "Nova York delirante", p. 136)
O palco pardo padronizado se descortina diante de mim. A mala de couro de carneiro clonado pousada no canto da sala, torre de roupa amontoada. A cidade-hiperespaço esculpida em compartimentos descontínuos é o mesmo cenário, projetado para a proliferação controlada de seu conteúdo. Cidade com instruções de uso, fáceis de assimilar. A queda d'água pesada de toda semana se despeja sobre a cobertura metálica do prédio. É verão na meca do capitalismo. A fuligem no ar quente e seco se olidifica no suor do corpo. Um atordoamento atávico me ata a meus sete sentidos.
Os bairros são organizados para terem vidas paralelas e não dependerem uns dos outros. As vizinhanças são rapidamente rapinadas por aglomerados humanos alienígenas que se acercam dos centros de comércio periféricos, caem no circuito econômico local, prosperam em seus negócios e depois vão embora.
4.8.2008."The single most important document in New York City's development is a map printed in 1811 called the Randel Survey of The Commissioneers' Plan. It unveiled a plain to increase the size of the city by 11.400 acres and 'provide space for a greater population than is collected on this side of China.' (...) In 1811, New York was still a 'small but promissing capital which', as characterized by Henry James in Washington Square, 'clustered about the Battery and overlooked the Bay, and of which the uppermost boundary was indicated by the grassy waysides of Canal Street.' North of Canal loomed a rugged wilderness broken only by an occasional farm or small community, such as the village of Greenwich (now Greenwich Village). (...) In May or June 1808, Randel started the project which would occupy him off and on for thirteen years. (...) Randal brought the topographical maps he was drafting of various sections of the island to his regular meetings with the commissioneers. The question of an street plan occupied much of their attention at these meetings: 'whether they should confine themselves to rectilinear and rectangular streets, or whether they should adopt some of these supposed improvements, by circles, ovals, and stars.' The gridiron was then the most popular street pattern and had already been employed in such cities as Philadelphia, Savannah, Charleston, and New Orleans. 'This is a plan oh which Americans are very fond, observed a visitor from Europe. 'All the modern built towns are on this principle.' It certainly had the advantage of being simple to lay out and easy for building construction. When the commissioneers decided on the gridiron for Manhattan, they 'could not bear in mind that a city is to be composed principally of the habitations of men, and that strait sided and right angles houses are the most cheap to build, and the most convenient to live in'. Their plan consisted of a dozen north-south avenues each 100 feet wide, and at intervals of 200 feet were 155 numbered streets 60 feet wide. (...) The natural geography of the island was originally a factor in devising a street system, but there is little evidence in the eight miles of numbered paralell and perpendicular streets and avenues delineated on Randel's map that the topography of the island was even a consideration. (...) In the early nineteenth century, Manhattan was still an island of hills (...) Once the map and plan were approved, the Common Council required elevations taken from each street, and at each intersection a marker placed where the future streets would be constructed. Between 1811 and 1821, Randel and his determined crew placed a three-foot nine-inch-long white marble marker engraved with the street's number at each intersection. Where rocks blocked the way, half-foot iron bolts were affixed to them. In total, 1549 markers and 98 bolts eventually dotted the landscape of the island. (...) The plan for Manhattan that Randel and the commissioneers devised is still virtually intact. A few significant changes have been made to it over the years - Broadway, for example, which was not included in the Commissioneers' Plan, could not be eliminated, and Central Park was added in the 1850s - but the monotonous straight street of New York City are the legacy of the Randel Survey'. (Paul E. Cohen and Robert T. Augustyn, "Manhattan in maps: 1527-1995", Rizzoli, 1997, ps. 102-105)."[In] 1851 (...), New Yorkers decided they needed a large park. (...) In January 1852 (...) the Special Commitee On Parks recommended the creation of a much larger park between Fifth and Eight Avenues, from Fifty-ninth to 106th street: 'Central Park will include grounds almost entirely useless for building purposes, owing to the very uneven and rocky surface.' " (p.126)
O Central Park é uma ilha de verde no coração do mar de cimento. "Manahatta" is the Indian (Manate) word for "island of the hills" and is variously translated as "hilly island" or "the small island'. "Trickling through the hills were trout streams and fishing holes. Certain New York City street names recall the time when Manhattan was abundant with water ways. (...) Canal Street was a swampy place that at very high tides separated Manhattan into two islands." (Paul E. Cohen e Robert T. Augustyn, "Manhattan in maps", p. 139). "Central Park had been completed in 1876", "The uniting of Brooklyn and Manhattan, preceded by the annexation of parts of the Bronx in 1874, marked the first steps in creating Greater New York City" (p. 142). "On January 1, 1898, Greater New York City had been created by consolidating the largest and third-largest cities in America. (...) The less-developed boroughs of Queens, Staten Island, and the remaining sections of the Bronx also became part of Greater New York." (p. 144) "Subway service began on October 27, 1904 (...) By 1905, construction reached the Bronx (...) and in 1908 three boroughs, including Brooklyn, were connected." (p. 148-149)
"The historical atlas of New York City", by Eric Homberger: "In the 1790s the City Surveyor, Casimir Goerck had laid out larger parcels of civic land on regular grid pattern. When the city requested the state legislature to appoint commissioneers to lay out a plan for the development of the whole island in 1806, it was probably clear that a plan akin to Goerck's grid design would be followed. The commission took four years to complete the plan: a simple rectilinear grid was to be extended over all existing rights of way, agriculture holdings, hills, waterways, marshes, and houses. Broadway survived the plan, but little else was allowed to remain. It was an extension of a city which had grown largely without either plan or central direction. (...) The rationale was economic: regular-shaped plots, right-angled intersections, valuable corner lots and straight streets would encourage the city's economic development" (p. 68)
Zona franca. Piet Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie" (1942-43), no Moma: "Bands of stuttering chromatic pulses, paths of red, yellow, and blue interrupted by light gray suggest the city's grid and the movement of traffic, while the stacatto vibration of colours evokes the synchopation of jazz and the blinking electric lights of Broadway."