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.
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.