Heraclitus on the Hudson

February light already seeping towards the colour of winter alleyways, we passed the gleaming Vessel rising over the Hudson Yards. Reflections lit up our faces, we are like actors in a long-running series, our staging always a modern take on history.

We hosted a conference in a rail station under a Potsdam Palace, the King’s train waiting at the platform, flipcharts ready for brainstorms to break out; we sipped wine, in lazy gazing from our bed in a repurposed cheese store, over-looking Helsinki’s frozen waters; we were temporary aristocrats renting a penthouse in a gasholder that once lit Dickens’ London.

Why does the outer skin remain faithful when the inner life shifts so utterly?

We have become our own monument now. We are an urban transformation. One part the same. Another part, gutted and remade, retrofitted like vegan bistros in the old cattle market of Paris. We tried to step into the same river, once more and again, until Heraclitus called out from the gathering dark of the Hudson. We heard his voice on the winter night and knew that it was true. As the snow thawed into the mush of winter grasses flattened, we hugged and turned, you towards the Whitney, and me towards midtown to pack for the flight.

*Mutations urbaines is the French term for urban transformation projects.