Archive for the ‘Cartography’ Category
… In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lérida, 1658
Borges, J. L. 1998. On exactitude in science. P. 325,
In, Jorge Luis Borges, Collected
(Trans. Hurley, H.) Penguin Books.
In the old photograph, a lonely farmhouse sits on a rocky hill, shaded by tall trees. The scene looks like rural Maine. On the modern street, apartment buildings tower above trucks and cars passing a busy corner where an AMC Loews multiplex faces an overpriced hamburger joint and a Coach store. In the old photograph, a lonely farmhouse sits on a rocky hill, shaded by tall trees. The scene looks like rural Maine. On the modern street, apartment buildings tower above trucks and cars passing a busy corner where an AMC Loews multiplex faces an overpriced hamburger joint and a Coach store.
Museum of the City of New York The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011 Dec 6 through Apr 15.
An exhibit that ranges from a Gutenberg Bible to Kerouac’s Zig-Zags.
One hundred years ago, The New York Public Library opened its landmark building, now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, dedicated to preserving its varied collections and making them accessible to the public. Over time, the Library has radically expanded its holdings, but its founding goals are as central today as they were in 1911. Library curators past and present have been guided by the philosophy that all knowledge is worth preserving. This major exhibition of more than 250 thought-provoking items from NYPL’s vast collections celebrates how the Library has encouraged millions of individuals to gain access to a universe of information during the past 100 years. The first Gutenberg Bible acquired in the Americas is included, as are dance cards, dime novels, and John Coltrane’s handwritten score of Lover Man. Organized into four thematic sections—Observation, Contemplation, Society, and Creativity—the exhibition highlights the collections’ scope and their value as symbols of our collective memory. Indeed, Celebrating 100 Years also documents changes in the way information has been recorded and shared over time, beginning with samples from the Library’s collection of Sumerian cuneiform tablets (ca. 2300 BCE) and culminating in selections from the Library’s 740,000-item Digital Gallery
Manhattan’s polarizing grid turns 200. The NY Times has a great interactive map that traces the history of the grid and Manhattan.
An excerpt from the NY Time’s piece: Henry James condemned it a century ago as a “primal topographic curse.” Rem Koolhaas, the architect and urbanist, countered that its two-dimensional form created “undreamed-of freedom for three-dimensional anarchy.” More recently, two historians described its map, regardless of its flaws, as “the single most important document in New York City’s development.”
I think we have to place this NYC urban expedition on the list of great treks up there with the Routebourn Track, Annapurna Circuit and the W Trail.
New Yorkers have an affinity for corporate cut-throughs, public piazzas, building lobbies or any public (or quasi-public) space that lets you slide north or south through the middle of the street without having to double-back to an avenue.
Here’s a New Yorker piece on this underappreciated art:
The goal: to walk from the Empire State Building, on West Thirty-third Street, to Rockefeller Center, on West Forty-eighth, without ever setting foot on Fifth or Sixth Avenue—to knife through tall buildings in a single bound, or at least in stepwise forays.