‘City of Women’ turns the subway map into an homage to the city’s greatest females

October 13, 2016

Modern cities are filled with signs that mark history, and that history often bears men’s names. In New York City, for example, we have Astor Place, Washington Square, Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center, and Bryant Park, just to name a few. In introducing a new book that addresses this status quo, The New Yorker points out that history-making women, on the other hand, “are anonymous people who changed fathers’ names for husbands’ as they married, who lived in private and were comparatively forgot­ten, with few exceptions,” and that their names are notably missing from our streets. In their forthcoming book “Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas,” Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro offer us a New York City subway map that attempts to set the record right. “City of Women” pays homage “to some of the great and significant women of New York City” in the places they lived and made a difference.

Map via Molly Roy, from “Nonstop Metropolis” by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. Subway route symbols ® MTA. CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE >>

Like the Statue of Liberty, many of our celebrated images of women are “mothers and muses and props but not Presidents.” The ubiquitous New York City subway map, where stations usually bear men’s names, serves as a starting point on which the authors have built “a feminist city of sorts, a map to a renamed city.”

The new map reflects the history of charismatic women who have shaped New York City, like the 17th century Quaker preacher Hannah Feake Bowne, three of the four female Supreme Court justices who are NYC natives, and the significant history of American feminism that has unfolded here. The map is both a memorial and a celebration of the hundreds of women who rose up and became visible in their time–and should definitely be remembered in ours.

[Via New Yorker]

Map via Molly Roy, from “Nonstop Metropolis” by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro


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