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Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-NYC Street Grid-001

Artist and scientist Stephen Von Worley made these incredible “day glo” maps of a handful of the world’s major cities ostensibly to understand in his own words, “what other treasures I had missed.” The result from a data visualization standpoint is to give us an idea of how gridded a city is. A basic rundown of how these beautiful maps work: the roads that are oriented in the same direction have the same color. The thicker the lines, the more “grid-like” the area is.

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We’re always on the look out for fun maps of NYC and we came across this site recently, NYC Roads by Steve Anderson. It looks like it was laid out in the 1990s but it does have a nice archive of road maps, vintage photographs and more. The road map database goes from 1928 to the 1990s. Here are some highlights:

1928 New York and Vicinity Rand McNally Map

This 1928 road map of NYC and vicinity shows the state of the roads. Paved in black, improved in dash line and graded or dirt roads in white:

1928 NYC Regional Map-Rand McNally

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Arts&Design_SandraBloodworth_NYC_UntappedCites_bhushan mondkar-007Rendering of the upper mezzanine level of the 34th street station built as part of the 7 subway extension. The dome will feature artwork by Xenobia Bailey. Rendering courtesy: MTA

Last week we presented the first part of our interview with Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design, where we talked about the incredible rebirth of the New York’s subway system over the past three decades and how the introduction of permanent art has transformed the transit experience in New York. From mesmerizing art cards and poetry in the trains, to captivating music in the stations, Arts & Design continues to touch our lives and ignite our imagination, as New York chugs along every day. In this second part of our four part series, we discuss how Arts & Design has influenced the aesthetics and design philosophy in NYC public transit as well as the different programs within Arts & Design, including the new ones that will soon be rolling down the tracks! This interview was conducted by Catherine Mondkar and Bhushan Mondkar.

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anna brown screen capture mapsImage via Business Insider

 

Imagine this: You walk out of Port Authority after a long bus trip, and need to find your best friend’s apartment at 383 Madison Avenue. As you take your phone out of your pocket, a commuter with no patience for dawdlers rushes past you, bumping your arm, causing your phone to fall and smash into smithereens on the sidewalk. So what do you do? Luckily, there’s a mathematical formula that will help you estimate the cross street of any address in Manhattan, and all it requires is a bit of mental math.

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01_MTA Arts and Transit_Untapped Cities_NYC_Bhushan Mondkar“Sky Reflector-Net” by James Carpenter, Grimshaw Architects and ARUP, is the largest single work ever commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Image: Patrick Cashin

The New York City subway system is beaming with amazing art installations–from colorful mosaics to the “Sky Reflector-Net” at the recently opened Fulton Center, which also boasts a new digital arts program on 52 screens. Of course, the subway system today is worlds apart from the one in 1970s (remember the images of graffiti covered subway trains?). But over the years, one group within the MTA has made our ride more imaginative–MTA Arts & Design (formerly known as MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design)–has slowly but steadily amassed an incredible underground Art Museum spanning across all five boroughs, pumping an artistic energy into the subway system.

As MTA Arts & Design approaches its 30th anniversary, Untapped Cities had the opportunity to talk with Sandra Bloodworth, who has been the director of MTA Arts & Design since 1996. Her latest book, New York’s Underground Art Museum: MTA Arts & Design has just been released. She graciously talked about various topics including the early days of the organization, opportunities and challenges that have evolved over the years and bringing public art into New York’s public transit. The interview was conducted by Catherine Mondkar and Bhushan Mondkar and will be presented in four parts in the coming weeks. We begin the series by talking about the origin and evolution of MTA Arts & Design.

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Fulton Center Transit Hub-MTA-Cast Iron Gate-Hotel McAlpin-Marine Murals-NYC

Herald Square seems packed full of retail, department stores, and office buildings today, but there’s a large apartment building at the corner of 34th Street and Broadway that was once the Hotel McAlpin. At its completion in 1912, it was the largest hotel in the world with a Turkish bath on the top floor and two gender-specific floors. Perhaps most of note was the Hotel McAlpin’s restaurant, the Marine Grill, for its terra cotta murals and cast iron entrance gate. In fact, the restaurant originally had a different name but was renamed the Marine Grill, in celebration of the subject matter of the murals–major moments in New York City’s maritime history from Henry Hudson’s arrival to Robert Fulton’s steamship. Thanks to preservationists, the terra cotta murals and the entrance gate are now embedded into the new Fulton Center Transit Hub.

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