Manhattan, maps, More Top Stories

Tall buildings—from supertalls to garden-variety skyscrapers—seem to grow like weeds in New York City: A recent boom in tall Midtown residential towers has ushered in a new focus on life in the clouds. And we’re always comparing ourselves to other vertical cities. We also know there have been growth cycles and slower periods when it comes to the city’s skyscrapers. Now we can survey the landscape of Manhattan’s tallest buildings all at once thanks to the mapping wizards at Esri (via Maps Mania). The Manhattan Skyscraper Explorer reveals each of the city’s tall towers, showing its height, when it was built, what it’s used for and more.

Explore New York’s tallest

City Living, maps, Transportation

Images: Esri Taxi Cab Terrain map

Looked at from any distance, New York City may appear to be a honking sea of cars and taxis, with the latter making the biggest visual impact (and probably doing the most honking). Thanks to GIS gurus Esri via Maps Mania, we have a snapshot–an aggregate vision, if you will–of a year of life in the Big Apple made up of the city’s taxi journeys. The Taxi Cab Terrain map allows you to zoom in and find out about the many millions of rides that start and end in the New York City and New Jersey metro areas based on data from the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission. Mapping yellow cab travel data covering July 2015 to June 2016, the map shows how different NYC boroughs use taxis and how they pay for their rides. Esri’s John Nelson then takes a look at socioeconomic data to look for influences that might impact how different neighborhoods use and pay for cab rides.

More from the map, this way

Chinatown, maps, More Top Stories

Chinatown photography, Chaz Langley

Chinatown, image © Chaz Langley

Many New Yorkers navigate Chinatown by its famous street names; East Broadway, Mulberry, Canal and Orchard. However, for many Chinese immigrants living in the area who do not speak English, these names are not used. Instead, descriptive nicknames (translated from Chinese) exist like “Hatseller Street,” “Garbage Street,” and “Dead Person Street.” Even more interesting, to help Chinese New Yorkers navigate the city, maps with these streets labeled in their Chinese nicknames are made and distributed. A reporter from This American Life, Aaron Reiss, began collecting these maps and discovered the lesser-known nicknames for a lot of these city streets, many which have four or five different labels.

More this way

maps, More Top Stories, Transportation

project subway, nyc subway, candy chan

Sketch of 59th Street-Columbus Circle via Candy Chan

While the official map of the New York City subway clearly labels which station comes next, it’s not very good at showing the actual geographic distance between stations or what the paths and tunnels look like in order to take the right exit. Like many New Yorkers, architect Candy Chan developed a love-hate relationship with the subway. As CityLab shares, after feeling constantly lost when trying to navigate the city underground, Chan created Project NYC Subway, which includes photographs, architectural drawings, and a series of three-dimensional sketches that display what the complex stations really look like.

See the x-ray-esque drawings

History, maps

maps, us states, history

Image: Library of Congress
When a livestock supply company tries to get clever, the result is likely to be something like this “odd and obscure” (h/t Slate) map of the U.S. showing common state nicknames of the day, many of which haven’t changed since the map was printed as a promotional offering by H.W. Hill & Co. in 1884. Each state’s nickname is illustrated by a portly porker doing whatever it is that state would probably rather not be known for doing best: New York’s “knickerbocker,” Ohio’s “buckeye” and Michigan’s “wolverine” are present and accounted for; Kentucky’s “corn cracker” and Georgia’s “cracker” are similarly skewered.

This way for more pig tales

Architecture, maps

archiporn, architecture guide, architecture map

Map via

While it may sound NSFW, the online guide ARCHIPORN is simply an informative guide to the world’s most beautiful architectural works, including various bookshops and institutions that specialize in architecture. First developed in 2008 by Brazilian architects Marcio Novaes Coelho Jr. and Silvio Sguizzardi, the project aims to identify and share information about iconic works from professionals around the world. The guide is chronologically organized, with different colors representing different eras. According to ArchDaily, cateogories range from before the year 1750, prior to the Machine Age, to recent works of 2010 and beyond.

Explore the map

History, maps, Meatpacking District

13th avenue, 13th avenue manhattan, meatpacking district

1885 map showing 13th Avenue, via the New York Public Library

You may be scratching your head at the mention of the 13th Avenue in Manhattan, but it does exist–and it’s the shortest avenue in the whole city with a fascinating history behind it. The minuscule stretch covers prime Meatpacking District real estate, just west of 11th Avenue and between Little West 12th Street and Gansevoort Street. The single block across the West Side Highway is unmarked, but officially known as Gansevoort Peninsula. The avenue was created by the city in 1837, and in no way was intended to be so short. In fact, by the mid-1800s 13th Avenue encompassed nearly 15 blocks and was planned to stretch all the way up to 135th Street. But the block never left Chelsea and was mostly destroyed by the city at the turn of the century.

Read all about the life and death of the Avenue

History, maps

nypl, surveyor map, historic nyc

The New York Public Library has a challenge for all history gurus and NYC experts: Place unlabeled historic photos of the city at the correct location on a map. The new website called Surveyor crowdsources geotags of the NYPL’s photo collections with the goal of creating a digital database to make it easier to find images by the location they were taken. While some photos come with helpful titles that describe the location or the address, others only include the neighborhood or vague details. Since algorithms and search engines won’t be able to pick up locations of these old photos, the NYPL is seeking help from the public.

Get more info

City Living, maps

While most New Yorkers can describe each neighborhood in just a word or two, a new website takes these definitions and puts them on a map, giving users a better understanding of how locals see each city block. As ArchDaily learned, the platform, Hoodmaps, crowd sources information, letting the public “paint” parts of the city using six colors to represent “uni”, “hipster,” “tourists,” “rich,” “suits” and “normies.” In NYC, it’s no surprise users painted Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen and the High Line in red, marking high tourist spots. And of course, Williamsburg was yellow marking it “hipster central” on the map.

Find out more

History, maps

1930s map, new york history, american population

 Map of U.S. with population of each state and of cities of 50,000+(Printers’ Ink Publishing Co., Inc., Chart by Walter P. Burns and Associates, Inc., New York City)

Using the 1930 census for their data, two distorted maps show where residents in the United States lived during this period of time. Both vintage cartogram maps exhibit how bunched Americans were in the north and the east coast, clustered in urban areas, despite the westward expansion of the previous century. As the Making Maps blog first featured and as Slate discovered, the size of New York and New Jersey grows in proportion to its expanding populations, moving further east into the ocean.

Find out more