thecorestories.com
A story about building up.
We build castles in the clouds and call them skyscrapers — like the sky is a lottery ticket, and we’re hoping to find hidden fortunes if we just scratch off that blue glaze. Like we’re climbing brick-by-brick towards heaven, where we’re certain that bliss must be buried. Our daydreamed constructions crowd up between Cirrus and Cumulus, crammed together like jigsaw puzzles, each piece scoring a lofty line into the atmosphere. With every tower, we court taller altitudes. But there is nothing uniquely urban about the human craving for height. We build hundred-story structures for some of the same reasons we scale mountains. We want to elevate our humanity to something almost soaring. We want to challenge gravity. We want to reframe our smallness. It makes more sense to feel so small and insignificant when looking down from up above, seeing where we fit in amid our landscapes. Up there, we are tiny but towering. Minuscule but mighty. We need the reassurance that one extreme does not negate the other. … People who prefer nature to New York tend to argue that the buildings block the sky. Some say that the highrises feel claustrophobic; others, that the lights shroud the stars. To them, the jigsawed cityscape is an unsolvable puzzle and a confining trap. I am not one of those people, but I understand that feeling: the sense of being cramped in darkness amid too many other people’s towers, unable to see the light and life happening even just one block away. In my first Brooklyn apartment, my bedroom had no windows. I lived with two girls whom I had met through a mutual friend, and their adjacent rooms contained the only windows in our fourth-floor Greenpoint walk-up. From bed, they looked out on the Manhattan skyline, backlit in burnt gold at sunset and washed silver at sunrise. But I awoke each morning to dark, square walls. I never knew if it was raining or if there was a breeze. Aside from gravity, I had no proof of which way was up. Somehow, that seemed to multiply the force’s magnitude. I felt heavy and constrained with my feet fixed to the floor, caged inside my unlit room. I spent most of my daylight hours in my cubicle at my grueling public relations job, and I came home every night to that dark box. It didn’t matter how many decorations I collected…