ExtendNY is a Google Maps hack that literally extends Manhattan’s grid all across the surface of the globe, fulfilling the modernist dream of infinite expansion of geometric space–the entire world, primed for urban development. The physical grid has no center point, with the width of avenues (longitude) and cross streets (latitude) varying, it isn’t surprising that it doesn’t exactly line up with its virtual counterpart. Given that Manhattan exists on the surface of a sphere, the longitudinal lines bend toward each other, ultimately converging, while the streets, like latitudinal lines, are concentric circles and never intersect.
The project brings to mind both J.G. Ballard’s Concentration City, a globe-spanning metropolis whose geometric and economic strictures act as forces of oppression, and Saul Steinberg’s View of the World from 9th Avenue, which depicts Manhattan as the center of the civilized world and renders all outlying lands in a haze. Where Ballard’s story intimates the psychological and ecological conditions wrought by the continuous city, Steinberg’s view is more conservative. At least he’s looking in the right direction–all roads lead to Uzbekistan.
The Eiffel Tower at 64,857 and 12,770th.
Uzbekistan, Manhattan’s antipode.