South Ferry, Liberty Island, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, and Jersey City on a Soviet-era map dating back to 1982. Image via Wired
With its final days almost 25 years passed (though historians disagree on the exact date), the Cold War-era tension between the United States and the former Soviet Union has passed into faded memory for those who were alive to witness it, and remain completely alien to everyone else. Never before had two superpowers capable of destroying the world with their masses of weapons been so close to pulling the trigger. Students as young as kindergarteners in school were trained to hide under their desks at the hint of attack. Nowadays, we fear lone gunmen instead of nuclear bombs, but the shape of the world during the Cold War was always hard to see, even now.
The Soviet mapmakers who created upwards of 1.1 million maps of the world, sometimes in street-level detail, held a different view. Wired recently published a collection of the found maps dating back to the 1980s. Apart from the unsettling detail with which some of these maps depict civilian areas of New York, Washington, D.C., and many more areas of military interest, they portray world power seeking the Google Maps-level perspective on the entire world almost 30 years early. What they intended to use this information for, one need only guess at.
Image via evgrieve.com
It’s refreshing to know that New York is finally putting its foot down in dealing with the millions of tourists roaming the streets this summer. In an official memo from the city’s Department of Pedestrian Etiquette (we know it’s real because it’s printed on the official city stationery, heh heh) posted on the front door of an East 7th Street building, “all new residents and visitors to New York City over the age of 16 will be required to take a mandatory training session on Proper Etiquette for navigating the sidewalks and streets of the greater metropolitan area.”
Upon completing the training, the NYC DPE is further mandating an oral and practical exam on successfully and efficiently using the city sidewalks, after which passing citizens will receive the Pedestrian Permit. Failure will result in a year-long ban from entering the city.
Van Alen Institute, image by Cameron Blayloc
The great thing about New York City is it would take several lifetimes (and some serious planning) to really take advantage of everything the city has to offer. However, for those who want a detour from the normal holiday festivities (and aren’t up for battling the shoppers, indulge in a mid-December weekend break that has nothing to do with holiday festivities, holiday markets or dining.
The Van Alen Institute, a design and architecture organization on West 22nd Street, has several great events planned for the upcoming weekend, including a transportation panel on Saturday and a Design Presentation and Conversation on Sunday. Located at the Institute’s newly renovated headquarters at 30 West 22nd Street from 4-6pm, discover how designers and architects plot new experiences even for the native New Yorker.