So many of my French friends have experienced total coup de foudre when they first visit New York. It resonates as being one of the only American cities that approaches the idea of being an international metropolis in a way that the French would understand – it is culturally rich and oftentimes America’s birthplace for new ideas, music, art and fashion. It is also remarkably condensed, densely populated, and – delayed trains be damned – the intricate public transportation network ultimately makes it accessible to anyone. It is the epitome of “la grande ville”.
I would imagine that, on top of everything else, the glory that is the grid system in Manhattan probably seems pretty outstanding to our Parisian friends. Have you gotten lost in Paris? No? Then you haven’t been to Paris.
My buddy Laura Tallardy sent me this amazing link about a class at Columbia University that changed Manhattan’s streets to resemble the “organizational approach” of the grands boulevards of Paris. The original city planners must be spinning in their graves!
Take a look here to see what might have happened had we followed in the footsteps of other American cities such as Washington DC, or Detroit. It’s rather interesting to challenge our conception of this great metropolis.