Thursday, November 17, 2011

One More

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about space. I live in a city that has always built up and out, that has taken every inch of available space and transformed it. As a result, I often find myself craving space, desperate for more room to spread out, to dream, to roam.

When I leave New York City, I am in awe of the vastness that surrounds me. Even something as simple as a restaurant looks massive. These huge rooms with doors that lead to other rooms. They have multiple bathroom stalls, empty stools at the bar, available tables. And it feels a little bit like boasting, a stick out your chest kind of pride, we have so much space, we can't even fill it!

Because it does seem that New York has already been filled to capacity. I stand in a crowded subway car, reaching for something, anything to hold on to, pressed up against strangers, tucked in the funk of another armpit and I think there is no way, it isn't possible, to fit one more soul. But the subway stops. And the door opens. And someone steps on.

Here, there is always room for one more.

One more person.

One more building.

One more restaurant.

I think people are daring enough to always ask that question: Is there room for just. one. more?

As a result:

A gallery pops up in an abandoned warehouse in Red Hook.

The tracks of a no-longer-used elevated train become a destination.

The piers of the Brooklyn waterfront become an enormous place to play.

So I begin to question my aversion to this cramped feeling. Filling up a space, reimagining it, takes courage. It takes wild ambition. I'm not advocating that we take all of our far as the eye can see fields and trample over them but I do want to view space differently, understand how I pass through it, what I want from it, and what I actually need. Because, as I've learned these past few months, to occupy a space, to step inside it, can be a movement.


  1. You should come to Utah. It's all space and sky and mountains and desert. And the largest city is quite small by New York standards!

  2. I live in the West where there is nothing but space. It think it takes imagination so constantly reinvision new uses for old space.

  3. Lovely post. I think about how tight everything is each time I visit New York City, and I can't help but feel a whoosh of relief when I retreat to the D.C. suburbs after my trips.

    But I often find the "togetherness" of New York to be pretty amazing, too. The feeling that so many people are cramped together occupying this space here, right now. I think about things like that all the time -- how we're all in this together. How we can all be standing together on the same cramped subway car, within touching distance, but then we'll disperse and go our separate ways and never lay eyes on each other again . . .

    Maybe too philosophical for a Friday afternoon, eh? :)