Becky Cooper of the tumblr Map Your Memories printed blank maps of Manhattan, gave them to New Yorkers and asked them to fill them out however they saw fit. What she got in return was some completely unexpected maps of New York (and of the lives lived here). It made us open our eyes wider to the many levels on which we can travel around a place. She’s compiled 75 of the maps in her book Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers.
Each map presents a completely original view of the city, and a life. Here are some of our favorites from Cooper’s tumbler:
From writer Stephen Wolf, who’s at work on his own book on Central Park’s long-lost casino. His map is littered with cryptic landmarks that refer to a micro-collection of minimal, nostalgic poetry (which you can read here).
Cartoonist and essayist Tim Kreider, author of the illuminating Time’s blog post ”The Busy Trap” that made the rounds last summer, made this map that reminds us a little of a little of Saul Steinberg’s famous New Yorker’s map of the world. His latest book is We Learn Nothing.
Dese’Rae L Stage, who first alerted to Mapping Manhattan, noted that “when you live in New York City, you feel the geography of the land you live on daily because your feet are, in most cases, your main mode of transport. You have a different relationship with the physical geography of your space than you might, say, if you drove a car”. She considered several different maps she could make: “the dissolution of my marriage, falling in love again, best dive bars (with and without jukeboxes), best Bloody Marys, places I’ve photographed my favorite bands.”
You don’t have to live in New York City to track your life and map it. Cooper offers a PDF template of Manhattan. But it would be easy enough to make a template of wherever you live…
Even better is what teenager Lily Wolf did: she just drew her own…
What would your maps look like?