In Journey to the End of the Night, Louis-Ferdinand Céline uses this famous expression:
“New York is a standing city.”
The vertical line is the characteristic of New York: “standing”, “straight”, “stiff”.
Unlike other cities, which are horizontal: “lying down”, “stretching out”, “swooning”.
Imagine that their city was standing upright, absolutely straight. New York is a standing city. We had already seen cities, of course, and beautiful ones, and ports and famous ones too. But in our country, cities lie down, by the sea or on the rivers, they lie on the landscape, they wait for the traveler, while this American one, she was not swooning, no, she was standing very stiff, not fucking at all, stiff enough to scare.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night
Louis-Ferdinand Céline was a French novelist and doctor known for his stream of consciousness writing style. He wrote the classic novel Journey to the End of the Night and is considered one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century. His works often focus on themes of cruelty and despair.