Rafael Esquer uses 600 hand-drawn metallic icons to map Manhattan at night

November 29, 2016

Artist Rafael Esquer, founder of Soho’s Alfalfa Studio, previously created a wonderfully whimsical depiction of Manhattan named Iconic New York. Made up of more than 400 hand-drawn city icons, the map took him two-and-a-half year to complete. Forging ahead, Esquer has now released a new version of the map that features an additional 200 icons. Called Iconic New York Illuminated, its drawings are shimmering metallics that represent the lights, noise, and pulse of the island after dark.

Esquer said his vision for the map was to “create a deluxe, collectible souvenir that says, New York loves you back—especially after dark.” He recounted the first night he spent in the city when he moved 20 years ago:

I was an undergraduate visiting from California, and arrived late in the evening. Like most people, I found the city’s lights exhilarating. But they did even more for me: I felt enveloped and connected in their glow, instantly a part of the city. I knew right then that I would live here.


As noted on the artist’s page, the metallic, collage looks similar to the work of legendary artist Gustav Klimt.

Alfalfa Studio Iconic New York Map Poster, Alfalfa Studio, Iconic New York Map Poster, new york landmarks posterA look at the original Iconic New York poster


Of the 200 new icons, there are 28 buildings, 23 celebrities, 20 media outlets, 12 cultural institutions, 11 urban legends, 10 writers, 8 sports teams, 3 superheroes, and 1 saint. Some fun additions include pizza-rat in the East Village, the Miracle on the Hudson, a $10,000 diamond-garnished martini, legally topless women.


The posters are 26″ x 39″ and are printed and stamped on velvety black premium paper using gold and silver foils and four metallic inks. They retail for $175 and can be purchased here.

[Via designboom]


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