New York: urban beauty and comics

I am still wildly jetlagged. I have to be up to get up to go to work in less than six hours but I am wide awake. I also feel happy and fulfilled. Have you ever before read here about me being happy ? There you go.

I spent twelve nights in New York, on business. We also went out a lot, shopped a lot, walked a lot, took in all this urban life, motion and feel that will keep me sane for a little longer. Fun was had aplenty. We saw Viennese Rhino and Harvard Nun again, who drove all the way from New England. Harvard Nun being a New Yorker (you know, one of those lamenting the gentrification of East Village), she gave us a few valuable tips. Much of what was felt and seen can be glimpsed in my recently updated New York photoset. Some of it I will be writing about. Some of it is for me to keep.

Just one little thing to start with: We were in New Jersey on a bus headed to Port Authority, in the queue for Lincoln Tunnel. The Manhattan-bound traffic was slow (obviously), night had fallen in the meantime. After a turn, looking to the left, I saw lit-up Manhattan occupying half the horizon. It was the definition of urban beauty. It was heart-stopping. Or, really, it was plainly beautiful and majestic, just like the way approaching Venice from the water is, only significantly more powerful. I was overwhelmed, I physically gasped. Part of this wonder can be sampled here (badly and artlessly rendered):

From NJ

Actually, photography hardly ever does any justice to New York: too many things happen in a single frame, there is too much complexity in a single picture which can easily be mistaken as noise, the context can easily be lost. I think that only comics can do justice to the city, in their annotated complexity, in the deliberate choices of what goes where and in the way zooming and change of angle can carry interpretation with them. No wonder comics love this city.


6 thoughts on “New York: urban beauty and comics

  1. I knew you would post something like this so I ‘ve been saving my reply for weeks. Well here it goes: FUCK YOU!
    This goes to all your future Gotham pieces.

    P.S. Tilt brought back memories so I am putting something together for you / after you. But stll, FUCK YOU!

  2. I think that comics have a good access to the urban in general (is that what you were saying? or were you specifically talking about NYC?). Never thought that much of London till I read From Hell, e.g. But for me NYC has always been a filmed space, rather than a comic space. Encapsulated in my first thought when I finally entered the city 10 years ago: “Wow… it’s just like the movies.” P’r’aps I hadn’t read enough Will Eisner.

  3. alexantra, what I had in mind (I admit) was a very American and very particular type of comics: Daredevil, Sin City, late darker Batman, Spiderman — that lot. You are right about From Hell, but then From Hell creates a whole new world anew.

    By the way, when I first entered the City I too thought: “Wow… it’s just like the movies — only completely different.” See, there is nothing like the feel of New York.

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