. . .It’s all relative; a centre but not the centre; so not a centre at all. The actual centre is at Praça da Sé;, but what correspondence does that have nowadays with a notion of a centre as source of social energy radiating sun-like from a dense historical core? The explanatory image of a central hub – usually historically generic – doesn’t translate easily into experience; if you follow the Avenida Celso Garcia from where I live in Tatuapé, pass through the Avenida Rangel Pestana on to Praça da Sé itself, you’ll experience a rhythm of peaks and troughs as concentrations of action and activity gather and disperse in waves along its course. When you reach the Largo da Concórdia at Brás, you’ll be sent up over the railway line that brought the city’s immigrants from the port of Santos all those years ago, up onto the Viaduto de Março along a tight-rope thread of pavement. All around and below you now, the city whirls with elevated highways and merging intersections, rising, falling, circulating with choking traffic that moves like sick rings round a planet. Only the bravest urban adventurer is willing to cling to these vertiginous verges to be barked at constantly by passing traffic and make it to the centre on foot. (I was lucky, the flyover was closed to traffic for resurfacing when I did it. It was a liberating experience, a bit like trespassing, and funny that they let you trundle right through and over all the holes and gullies while they worked on them). From here, the views of the city – and the Banespa skyscraper – are about as iconic as it gets if you’re looking for a single image to ‘catch’ São Paulo. . .