As part of the Open House New York Weekend, on Saturday, October 11th Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will offer the public an exclusive look at a series of original maps housed in the Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street. Highlights will include the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan and the Randel Farm Maps, two snapshots of the history of the development of Manhattan’s streets as we know them today.
Have you ever walked by a particularly strong stench at a street corner and suddenly had the urge to give it a closer smell to really dissect its nuances? Well, us neither. But a few brave pioneers have taken it upon themselves to create their own smellmaps, fascinating guides that showcase a city’s range of olfactory experiences. In this interactive New York Times map of Manhattan (from 2009 but still awesome), Jason Logan provides encyclopedic entries for each neighborhood’s smellscape.
In 1973, things were pretty dicey in New York City. The economy was tanking, crime was up, and Times Square was nothing like it is today. In fact, in 1973 the Office of Midtown Planning and Development was created by Mayor John Lindsay to begin the “cleaning up” of Times Square and vicinity. First on the list of attack were massage parlors, seen as a breeding ground for the prostitution industry that was openly operating on street corners. Lindsay proclaimed that “phony massage parlors [were] nothing more than fronts for houses of prostitution.”
This map by the Office of Midtown Planning and Development locates the massage parlors, spas, “presumed prostitution hotels,” single room occupancy hotels (SRO), peep shows, live burlesque shows, and adult book and video stores in Midtown.
The Paris Metro Burger Fat Map (Photo via Fast and Food)
This is a map for the J. Wellington Wimpy in your group. It’s well-known that Paris has gotten deep into a Brooklyn obsession, offering up hip joints for gourmet coffee, lobster rolls, Brooklyn Brewery, and many things American.
In this collaboration with Fast and Food, FraisFrais and Thrillist (who have produced a similar maps for bars in NYC), life has become so much easier for the burger lovers of France, as well as burger obsessed tourists to find burger joints on each of the 14 lines that make up the Paris metro. And we’re not talking about McDonalds and Quick. Continue on for a more detailed look at this map.
We once covered the amazing book Mapping Manhattan in which Becky Cooper collected people’s memory maps of Manhattan as she walked the length of Broadway. We also showed you the artist Olek, who yarnbombs everything she sees: from the Wall Street Bull to whole people in parks. Well now, someone has knitted a map of Manhattan. In artist Santa Wolanczyk’s piece, Knitted Manhattan, she has distorted Manhattan to mirror the distortion process of memory.
As she describes: “Our brain distorts facets and assembles imagery differently each time. Each memory is also colored by the times it has been recalled, eventually resulting in an image that is removed from the original experience. I am interested in the changes that create new representations of space and place. To imitate this abstraction, I have been deconstructing and rearranging neighborhood maps of Manhattan.”
Santa explained that she grew up between her mom’s house in a small Long Island town and her dad’s place in the East Village. “My experience with New York,” she said, “is that it has always been crazy overwhelming… but it is also so familiar and like home.” She said that growing up she rarely left her dad’s neighborhood, and didn’t even make it to Williamsburg until she was 18, which seems crazy to her now and is what sparked her fascination with how everyone experiences New York in their own way.”
To create this fourteen-foot map, Santa used a 36x12st knitting machine which reads a punch card with a pattern on it: the map for the map. For the pattern, she used traced screenshots of Google maps and then combined them with the memories that altered her personal experience of the city: “Like one time I walked all the way down to Bowling Green and couldn’t remember the way home. I sat in this triangle shaped grassy park area which is actually pretty small on the scale of the park map, but that shape makes up the pattern of the lower end of Manhattan.”
But for East Village, dense with memory, she drew her own maps before overlaying the Google maps. “It was really interesting to compare my maps to the actual maps,” she said, “to see what is important to me: the park, the bodega, certain trees, specific shops, this huge abandoned school across from my dads apartment.” Santa calls the project “a practice in deconstruction, distortion, and reassembly.”
We are sure that if the people of Westeros had a railing system instead of having to travel by foot, or by horse, we would not have had to endure two seasons of Bran Stark and Hodor eating up precious screen time when we rather be seeing whatever The Hound, Arya or Daenerys was up to.
Inspired by the workings of Cameron Booth, graphic designer Michael Tyznik has created a subway map of Westeros, the fictional land where the extremely popular book and HBO television series Game of Thrones takes place.