Friday, March 21, 2008

Subway Series

So there is some exciting news floating around the office today. The Vignelli Family, creators of the original NY subway map, are up to their old tricks again. They have crafted a new map which bears a lot of resemblance to one I posted before, the Kick Map which was discussed in the NY times a year ago. I think I have found the perfect subject for a piece. Comparisons of these three maps really draws out what can be achieved and obscured (intentionally or otherwise) by a cartographer. Speaking with the Vignelli's also cross pollinates for me, as they had a hand in designing the signage in the subway, which is one of the big interests of my profile subject, a totally unplanned coincidence! Below is a side by side comparison of the original, the kick map, and the new Vignelli.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I am spending the weekend in the Philadelphia. I had a great ride down on the Chinatown bus, only $10 and less than two hours to get here. I went to sleep in one Chinatown and woke up in another.

Philly is a strange city, so much of the downtown feels like an outdoor mall, a bit like the Fulton Street Mall near where I live in Brooklyn. I have noticed that the neighborhoods change and blend into one another much faster here. You can be on a street with a few upscale clothing stores and chain restaurants and then the next block is mostly abandoned and then the block after that is a university with well kept buildings.

There are maps almost every corner around Market Square. I don't think NY does this, but as a tourist it is really nice. You don't have to whip out a map or go stand in front of a big one that draws a lot of attention to you. There are small, discrete, easy to use maps quite often, which lets you feel safe and helps you blend in.

photo to come.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Muder Mapping

This is what I hope to see more of in the future. Maps that can present a slew of data in a way the illuminates the contrasts across city neighborhoods. I would like to see these maps with an even richer set of data embedded in them, and perhaps hyper-linked to stories about them.

NYT Murder Map

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sub par

I found a story in the NY Times from last year that would have made the perfect profile, a man obsessed with redesigning the NYC Subway map. He hasn't made much headway on convincing the city, but reading the piece got me thinking. There are several inches of empty space on the left and right side of the map, with Manhattan positioned off-center left. If you cut off the empty water on the left and condensed the 4-5 inches of Long Island on the right, where no subways run at all, you could greatly increase the detail of the remaining map and perhaps restore some of the parity in terms of scale to Brooklyn and Queens. I think I will try and touch base with this fellow, even if his story has been done already, as he will probably have some friends or leads in the world of mapping.

NY Times Story

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Meet me at the Cube

I found another typogrqapher today who leads walking tours of the city's letters. He seems like a very interesting fellow, he has also led tours in Rome and clearly is interested in both letters and the city itself.I'm meeting him tomorrow for our first chat. I told him I was going to school off Cooper Square, and we agreed to meet at Astor place. Referring to the statue there he ended our conversation by saying. "Ok, 10:30, at the Cube."


Feel Free

So I got the ok to write about Christopher Hitchens. I sent him a sort of pleading e-mail and he was very nice about the whole thing. Now I'm trying to craft a piece about our evening, except I haven't written in the first person in years. On my first draft I think maybe I ended up going a little overboard with the inner mono-log. I've got to pitch it to the Observer by the end of this week, so it looks like more late nights ahead.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

a round of ethics

I just had drinks with my journalistic idol. We sparred, he lectured and the rounds kept coming. Now I am in a conundrum. To write about the event, or not? Does asking me out for drinks make you fair game? Will I ruin my reputation before I had one to consider? I already regret this blog.

Suggestions? Accusations?