When writers and artists–particularly ones who have a keen understanding of cities–venture into the world of maps, you can bet the results will be fascinating and illuminating. “Nonstop Metropolis,” a new atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro (6sqft recently discovered the “City of Women” subway map from the book) offers 26 New York City maps that “cue us into understanding who is here” according to Solnit. As Wired puts it in their review, the result is “a diverse array of deeply particular maps” that combine imaginative and fanciful imagery with the colorful cultural history beneath the city’s diverse neighborhoods and landmarks and the people who live among them.
The New York Public Library is currently putting together a map of New York City neighborhoods represented in the pages of our favorite books. Novels set in the five boroughs are added to the map as readers suggest them, along with nearby landmarks and attractions so you can get your literary bearings. Currently most of the listed titles in are in Manhattan (“American Psycho” in the Financial District, “Catcher in the Rye” in Central Park, to name just a few); Team Brooklyn is looking sparse (Hello? Paul Auster?), and The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island need you!
As a Brooklynite surrounded by progressives, I’m well aware of the need to “think globally and act locally” on a whole lot of matters. This persistent mantra seems particularly true when it comes to commerce, prompting those of us who heed such calls to shop (and generally pay more) at farmer’s markets and mom & pop retailers, especially those in our very own neighborhood. This is how vital local businesses can be sustained in an environment rife with soulless, big chain predators. OK. Fine. So I do my part by forking over ten bucks to a farmer for a bunch of kale and a handful of carrots, though I can’t understand why it costs more to buy the stuff direct from the guy who grew it himself. And then there was the time a Hudson Valley hipster tried to sell me a three pound chicken for $27.