In this month's Metropolis, Paul Goldberger wonders what our cell phones hath wrought upon us, as they prevent us from experiencing a place. Goldberger writes in his elegant essay:

When you walk along the street and talk on a cell phone, you are not on the street sharing the communal experience of urban life. You are in some other place--someplace at the other end of your phone conversation. You are there, but you are not there. It turns the boulevardier into a sequestered individual, the flaneur into a figure of privacy.

Gothamist knows what Goldberger is talking about: There is something to be said to be able to walk around city streets and take in the life. But then you want to share that feeling and that experience with someone, and short of accosting a passerby, you will reach for your cell phone and call a friend. The good and bad of accessibility.

Goldberger also laments the disappearance of telephone exchanges that were defined by neighborhoods. With land lines moving to cells, 212 might be as "placeless" as 917 and 347. [Via Metafilter]

A book Gothamist loves because it that sings with the energy of New York as a place and state of mind: The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead.