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Dispatch from the Blacked-Out Anti-World of Manhattan

Picture: David Shankbone (CC)

Walking the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn into Lower Manhattan is like trespassing from the realm of matter into anti-matter—this visible world into a hidden anti-world. I’ve not experienced anything quite like it in my life.

The Brooklyn half of the bridge is illuminated. The Manhattan half submerged in gloom, save for the automobile lights below. Across the bridge, the usually gleaming architecture of projects and other buildings now resemble three-dimensional silhouettes, faintly lit by moonlight and the aggregate glow of cars. Upper Manhattan’s lights, including the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building, are a glittering cloud—the bright frosting to Lower Manhattan’s dark layer cake. Freedom Tower bursts out of the Lower Manhattan shadow skyline, as if city leaders were desperate to provide something symbolic to New York City’s inhabitants—a totem to resurrection and re-electrification.

The impression of walking across the bridge seems normal, until one stands underneath the structure’s matrix of metal arches.… Read the rest

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