The Corridor is where we end. As the final important landmark on the Midtown grid, we come also to arguably the most significant site in the city’s development. The intent behind the Corridor on a basic level was to allow for only one way in and one way out. To gain access to Midtown became literally and figuratively, a rite of passage.
With regards to the age and process of design—not to mention the amount of marble used in its construction—no exact date has ever been recorded. Even sources in the Old Library give rough estimates and are somewhat unreliable, leaving even the most skilled scholar with wild theories. One such theory proposed by this author, though I’m not an expert, is that the Corridor seems to have been completed in four stages, as each section that comprises the area on which it sits possess unique traits not found in the others.
The passage for example that leads the train in from the Outskirts is brightly lit, almost to the point where the observer cannot see at times, suffused with a series of eternal flames and lamps, not to mention imagery dedicated to various deities, making the approach memorable, if not a blinding experience. This section is often attributed to Junichiro, as he was believed to be a devout worshipper of Kagu-tsuchi the Japanese fire god whose name is inscribed in spots along the passage.
As the Corridor narrows and the light becomes more bearable, the ambiance changes as well. The tones become earthier and the obvious symbols of gods disappears . Perhaps any deeper meaning lies in the walls, which boasts engravings of various rare plants—some of the hallucinogenic variety—that weave into patterns resembling arabesques. Madelaine de Garza, Perrot’s wife, an avid gardener and supposed master herbalist is often named as the central influence in the design after Perrot himself.
If we allow logic to play into the mystery would it seem too unlikely to think that these people, who history finds so enigmatic, were dabbling in consciousness expansion through chemical means? And if so, how does all this mysticism play into not only the development of the Corridor, but the rest of Midtown as well.
Part of the answer may exist in the third section of the Corridor which boasts the imprint of Hans Overbeck. A page in his published diaries says the following: 25 July 1830…Have been feeling rather ill as of late due to the wild deliriums of a tea I drank with the others the past evening. I felt as though I were being carried on the wind itself! Though as the night went on, the harshness of the substance…belladonna I believe…produced within my mind many dark images that I had not felt in years. Due to this, I have not been able to focus my energies as earnestly on the task of the Passage, which Bastion has been fretting about. He too has felt ill…I’m certain the work will continue as planned, and that my recent visions shall play a part in what it is to come on the small and grander scale…
If the previous words are any indication, Bastion Perrot was also privy to the grand effects of drugs, though one does not see it come through in the final stage of the Corridor. Overbeck’s contributions which ultimately led to the Section of Wind, as it has come to be called, due to the erection of a dozen flute-like bronze statues along the tracks, leads into a serene gentle ending at the platforms. Bastion, for all his legend, simply put in a final marble slab across the north wall that produced a barely noticeable flow of water, which seems fitting for a man who was barely noticeable to those who have tried to study him.
The story, one could say, is unfinished.