In 1976, cartoonist Saul Steinberg gave us “A View of the World from 9th Avenue,” a humorous take on the way New Yorkers can sometimes be thought to see the rest of the world across the Hudson River. His drawing became one of The New Yorker‘s best known covers, eliciting chuckles and eye rolls alike.
Earlier this week, CityLab shared a similar map via Reddit, larger in scale and about a thousand times more detailed. The David Rumsey Map Collection lists the author as unknown, and dates it to somewhere around the 1970s, but other than that, the story of how this particular map came to be is shrouded in mystery. The map itself, however, packs every New York City neighborhood, building, attraction, and landmark into an intricate “New Yorker’s Map of the World,” pushing the rest of America, even the rest of the world (which includes just a few countries in Europe and Asia), off to the very edges. The result is nothing short of hilarious.
The detail in the map itself is what caught our eye. Especially noteworthy is how New Jersey shares basically the same longitude as San Francisco, and how Staten Island, though a borough of the city and 3x larger than Manhattan, is still no bigger than a tenth of the comparatively enormous Manhattan.
You’ll also find a lot of historical gems like Fraunces Tavern, Tavern on the Green, and Delmonicos; the landmarks like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building and the original World Trade Center towers, large like icons.
As well as locations now lost or changed like Gimbel’s Department Store at Herald Square (and at 86th Street and Lexington), Empire Diner, Chumley’s and St. Vincent’s Hospital. There are even some obscure favorite spots of ours like Sniffen Court, one of the smallest historical districts in the city and the New York Studio School, the first home of the Whitney Museum. There are references to the old railroads and subway lines, like the Erie Railroad, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, New York Central Rail Road, the IND and BMT lines. Even Hunts Point in the Bronx makes it onto the map.
If we were to more accurately date the map, the original Twin Towers at the World Trade Center opened in 1973. Studio 54, located on the map closed in 1980. Also in 1973, East River Drive was renamed FDR Drive. So this puts it somewhere between 1973 and 1980 so far, but we know you New Yorkers out there will recognize some places and help narrow down the window. The full detailed map is available here.