Line as labyrinth: Walking the urban labyrinth of desire.

A labyrinth is not a maze, nor a puzzle to be solved, but a singular path to be traveled. One followed by choice. One where the destination is clearly the journey, and time and the space for contemplation the purpose.

A labyrinth is a line, often considered as a line convoluted, with compounded twists and turns. The very word labyrinthine is a term to describe that which is complicated and intricate. But at its core, at the heart of it, a labyrinth is just a line. One without distractions, one without choices and options. It is a singular line to follow. One that is chosen by the walker, not forced upon them by the built environment. The invitation to walk a labyrinth is just that, an invitation. It is not a demand, or even a request. It is an option. One chosen when you feel the need, the pull, the desire. The desire to take on a path, or a pilgrimage. To set out with an intention, a question. It works best when you don’t try to answer that question, but just walk with the question, and see how it changes, and reveals more of itself, with each footstep.

According to some urban planning experts, Broadway was New York City’s earliest desire line, following as it does the Native American-made Wickquasgeck Path, which is thought to have been the shortest walking route between pre-colonial settlements in Manhattan. Broadway is the only remaining one path, according to Architect and urban planner Riccardo Marini, that “wasn’t wiped out by the European grid being overlaid on it”. In this work this path of desire becomes the line of a labyrinth progressing through the city. A singular line progressing from the most northern to the most southern tips of Manhattan. This line becomes an urban labyrinth of desire.

From Broadway Bridge to Battery Park, walk New York City’s earliest desire line, following the historic Native American-made Wickquasgeck Path down modern day Brodway.