'NYT' Writer Bemoans Technology, Longs for Scummy Old New York
Oh nuts. Technology is ruining NYC. You see, according to the Sunday Times, no one will get lost in the city and discover awesome new "foreign" neighborhoods by accident anymore because kids have GPS on their cellphones and cabs have interactive touch-screens and the magic is gone, and that is really, really meaningful... For instance, never again will you get some of this crazy only-in-New-York-ness: "You go for a few blocks, unsure, your senses on the alert. In this fog of momentary disorientation, you are nonetheless aware of various clues: a whiff of halal spices, both foreign and familiar; a heated conversation in Polish in your left ear; a taxi driver cursing in Caribbean Spanish in your right." Wait. We'll all speak one language? It's Babylon! God will smite us!
WHAT we are witnessing is the death of disorientation. What is a city like New York with no walks halfway down the wrong block? With no wrong blocks? With no need to pause, take a breath and synchronize the senses with the clues embedded in the urban landscape? No need to ask questions of one’s fellow human beings? None of that subtle mixture of gratification and satisfaction that comes from giving or receiving directions that help us find our way? Those few moments of disorientation are the moments in which we are reminded of the dizziness of this world — its irrationality, its chaos, its unexpected beauty.