Woody Allen and Walter Benjamin walk into Elain's Restaurant…
The following is an excerpt from David Kishik’s The Manhattan Project: Theory of A City.
We publish here a transcript of an interview with Allan Stewart Konigsberg (aka Woody Allen), conducted by Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (aka Carl Roseman), which took place in 1985. Sandor Needleman, a retired Columbia University professor who arranged the meeting and took these notes, stipulated that they should be “published posthumously or after his death, whichever comes first.”
WALTER: Most people think about Manhattan the film as your love letter to Manhattan the place. I disagree. For me it is a declaration of war. What was on your mind when you made it?
WOODY: You’re right. I said before that I wrote the script while thinking about what is happening to American culture, where relationships between human beings are becoming harder and harder to have, and it is becoming harder and harder to be honest and not to sell out. New York has to fight every day for its survival against the encroachment of all this terrible ugliness that is gradually overcoming all the big cities in America. This ugliness comes from a culture that has no spiritual center, a culture that has money and education but no sense of being at peace with the world, no sense of purpose in life.