Maps of New York City

In May 2010, the Hand Drawn Map Association ran an open call for maps of New York City. Eleven maps were chosen to be part of You Are Here: Mapping the Psychogeography of New York City, an exhibition curated by Katharine Harmon at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery.

HDMA NYC

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JANINE NICHOLS - Brooklyn, New York
Untitled, circa 1980
pen on paper, 11x14 inches

Nichols notes on the back of her map, "I made this map ca. 1980, under the influence of John Held. I lived on East 16th Street in Manhattan and worked in the famous Brill Building at 1619 Broadway. An ex-boyfriend had 'joined' the Moonies, which is why the former New Yorker Hotel figures so prominently. I see that I made the Twin Towers as they looked at night, ribboned with worklights. I was probably concerned they wouldn't be visible enough against the water. I remember I used an old-fashioned dipping pen used to draw music staff to make the rivers. I love the floating 30 Rock building. I worked there before the Brill. I was the music coordinator for the first run of Saturday Night Live."

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KEES TOUW - Rotterdam, the Netherlands
The Eye of the Seal is Chinatown, 2010
pen and ink on paper, 17x7 inches

Touw drew this map to document his family's attempts to camp near Manhattan rather than find a hotel. He writes, "The first time we visited New York (1998) we had some difficulties with the immigration officers at JFK airport. They did not know that the New Yorker Trailer Park at North Bergen had a campground as well (4 persons, man, wife and two children of 11 and 17 years old, cost 24.50 a day). The second time we went to New York was in the summer of 2004. We found out that the campground in North Bergen was closed. We needed to find another place to camp. At last we found a campground not far from Staten Island. With the rental car, we drove from Cheesequake State Park to the Staten Island Ferry. Not far from the ferry is a carpark at low cost. So, the third time we came to New York we did know our way. The funniest thing that happened was during our first trip. At a corner near 125th Street, we met Chris Rock. We still keep the pictures."

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SHANE WATT - Montreal, Quebec
NYC at a Glance - 100 Hours or Less, 2010
ink on paper, 15x30 inches

Watt's detailed and disorienting map reveals a dense and claustrophobic amalgamation of buildings.

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ROB SERVO - Brooklyn, New York
A Map of My First Year Here, 2010
colored pencil, film, cut paper, spray paint, pen and acrylic on paper, 9x18 inches

Servo created this map to document his first year in the city. The drawing also serves as a useful bike map indicating paths and lanes throughout the city.

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TONY DOWLER - Seattle, Washington
300 Block Between East 18th and 19th, 2010
pen on paper, 8.5x11 inches

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WILL HAUGHERY - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I Owe You Thirty Dollars, 2010
pen and paint on lithograph, 22x30 inches

Haughery's map documents a spur-of-the-moment trip to New York City with his friends and includes such events as biking through Manhattan and finding places to stay.

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YUMI ROTH - Boulder, Colorado
Meta Mapa: Bronx-takeway map (chicken coop), 2008
color laser print, edition of 80, 11x17 inches

In this ongoing project, Roth invites local residents to draw maps on their hands that lead to interesting places in their neighborhoods. The drawings are photographed and then printed to become folded paper maps that she and others use to navigate the city. In this iteration of the project, she asked residents of a Bronx neighborhood to map hidden or little-known green spaces. One of the maps led her to a place where a husband and wife were keeping chickens and tending to a small urban garden, in what Roth described as a median strip.

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GOWRI SAVOOR - Montpelier, Vermont
Nyshie: Bushwick, Brooklyn, May 2010, 2010
ink on paper, 9x9 inches

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KRISTA SHAFFER - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Trip to New York, May 24, 2010, 2010
ball point pen on paper, 9x12 inches

This drawing documents one of Shaffer's recent trips to the city. She excitedly traveled to the Museum of Modern Art to experience Marina Abramovic's the Artist is Present. Instead she was met with disappointment as her fellow museum-goers were anything but polite while waiting to sit with the artist.

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DEAN VALADEZ - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Study for (Hands Up) (Non) Difference - 2010
acrylic, collage, and graphite on paper, 6.5x9.5 inches

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DEAN VALADEZ - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Study for (We) Have You on Tape Recorder - 2010
acrylic, collage, and graphite on paper, 6.5x9.5 inches

More Maps of New York from the Collection

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James Maxwell's son and daughter-in-law drew these two maps for him when he was visiting them in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When James was leaving to return home, he used the maps to help him find his way to the Amtrak section of Penn Station in Manhattan, several subway stations away. The small map provides a general orientation of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the surrounding area. The other map explains the connection James was to make between the L train and the N. He was directed to get in the middle car of the L train so that when he got off at Fourteenth Street/Union Square, he would be in the right place to get on the last car of the N train, putting him in position to easily find the Amtrak area of Penn Station. It did not work out quite as planned, however. James did get on the right trains, but did not get the cars right. Rather than simply walking up a flight of stairs, he wandered around Penn Station looking for the right place.

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Eleanor Davies, a Londoner currently living in Munich, Germany, drew this map to recal her first visit to the United States. She writes on a note included with the map, "I came to New York in the spring and in the summer - crossing the Atlantic filled with the American dream - staying with a riverman in Brooklyn - tasting the Big Apple and driving north to fish the Catskills - seeing the waters around Manhattan in a different light after seeing the forests and fields it starts flowing from. This is my New York."

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John Hutchison sent these three sketches documenting his commute from Cold Spring to New York City. This was his regular weekly routine from April 2007 to December 2008. The journey starts in the first drawing with a walking route from his house to the train, next the trip via train from Cold Spring to Manhattan, and finally his walk from Grand Central Station to his office.

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Arshes Anasal sent us a series of three images he made from vintage maps. The first two are woven collages. The third is a mash-up called Parque Lopez combining two neighborhoods important to him: Park Slope in Brooklyn, where he lives now, and Vicente Lopez in Buenos Aires, where he grew up. Anasal writes, "I see these maps as a sort of cartographic fiction, where real maps are manipulated to create a new space that reflects a mental perception of the geographic space rather than an actual depiction."

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