Mondrian hits the nail on the head. Even though he made this painting 76 years ago, it still captures perfectly the impression and the feeling I had walking through Manhattan. While the overall geometry appears, at first, orderly and helpful for guidance, the bright glaring colour contrasts disorient the viewer. There is no point of focus, so the eye moves restlessly along the lines, up, down, to the side, from one rectangle to the next. There are no details distinguishing one line or crossing from the other, no clue as to where exactly you are right now. It almost appears as if the colourful squares are moving, just like the stream of cars and pedestrians pushing endlessly through the streets in all directions.
The brightness of the canvas and especially the almost biting yellow remind me of the flashy advertisements and colourful signs popping up all over the place, the traffic lights, the many different people crowding the place.
In some ways the city seemed so surreal to me that it is really best captured in an abstract painting.
Artwork: Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942. Seen in MoMA.