khare at alumni.caltech.edu
Tue Apr 15 19:01:37 PDT 2003
Archived copy was found on a very intriguing site, cartome.org:
> Cartome , a companion site to Cryptome , is an
> archive of news and spatial / geographic documents on privacy,
> cryptography, dual-use technologies, national security and
> intelligence -- communicated by imagery systems: cartography,
> photography, photogrammetry, steganography, camouflage, maps,
> images, drawings, charts, diagrams, IMINT and their
> reverse-panopticon and counter-deception potential.
Go explore the site!
In the meantime, I had to print out the cheat sheet to my new shower
($35 at the cartoonbank.com site)
nytimes.com December 8, 2001
A Funny New Yorker Map Is Again the Best Defense
By SARAH BOXER
A quarter century ago, on March 29, 1976, a simple, pastel map of
New York City appeared on the cover of The New Yorker. Drawn from
the perspective of a low-flying bird looking west from Ninth Avenue,
you could see the world receding from the city: the Hudson River,
New Jersey, Kansas City, then the Pacific Ocean and Japan. It was Saul
Steinberg's famous "View of the World from Ninth Avenue," a drawing
reproduced and imitated countless times. Every city wanted a version
of its own. Steinberg once said that if he had gotten the proper
royalties, "I could have retired on this painting."
This week, another simple pastel map, a flat, bird's-eye view of New
York City drawn in pen and wash, appeared on the cover of The New
Yorker. It showed the names of the city's neighborhoods
Afghanistanicized: Lubavistan, Kvetchnya, Irate, Irant, Mooshuhadeen,
Schmattahadeen, Yhanks, Feh, Fattushis, Fuhgeddabouditstan,
Hiphopabad, Bad, Veryverybad, E-Z Pashtuns (leading to New Jersey),
Khakis and Kharkeez (in Connecticut) and, most touchingly,
Lowrentistan, where the World Trade Center once stood.
The map was made by Maira Kalman, who grew up somewhere near Upper
Kvetchnya (she did the pen work) and Rick Meyerowitz, who is
originally from around Ptooey (he did the watercolor). Both now live
When their cover came out, suddenly a dark cloud seemed to lift. New
Yorkers were mad for the map. They laughed. They shared it. They
recited their favorite joke names on the map, making sure you had
the proper Yiddish: the name Gribinez (for the Hudson River) means
cut-up chicken parts. They checked out your cultural knowledge:
Blahniks (the Upper East Side) is where everyone can afford Manolo
Blahnik shoes. What? You don't understand. Youdontunderstandistan?
You should be banished to Outer Perturbia (somewhere on Long Island).
Perhaps not since Steinberg's drawing had New Yorkers pored over a
magazine cover so long. Of course, the maps are totally different.
Steinberg's is a delicate drawing done in perfect perspective, with
fully realized cars and little witty dotted lines separating Canada
from Chicago and Mexico from Washington. The drawing by Ms. Kalman and
Mr. Meyerowitz is flat and naïve. Aside from a funny perplexed camel
standing in the middle of Stan (Staten Island), the humor is all
So what, if anything, ties these covers together? Maybe the clue
lies in the one true bit of real estate on the new map: Harry Van
Arsdale Jr. Boulevard (O.K., so the real one is an avenue), which
runs from Khkhzks in Queens to Outer Perturbia. What is this piece
of reality doing in this Afghanistanicized city? And why, of all New
Yorkers, should Van Arsdale have been designated for post-jihad
Van Arsdale (who died in 1986) was the president of the New York
City Central Labor Council at its peak. His last big hurrah came in
1975, when he helped put together a plan to lift the city out of its
fiscal crisis. That was the year of the famous Daily News headline
"Ford to City: Drop Dead." It was also the year Steinberg drew his
famous map. (It was published a year later.) So maybe here's the tie:
both maps are pictures of New York City at its darkest hour with its
back to the wall, digging in its heels.
Actually, neither Ms. Kalman nor Mr. Meyerowitz knew precisely who
Van Arsdale was. But Mr. Meyerowitz said, "The name never failed to
make me laugh when I approached it."
The whole map began in fun. "We were on our way to a party in
Westchester County," she said. Driving through the Bronx, she
suddenly called out: "Bronxistan." And the names started flowing: Le
Frakhis (a pun on LeFrak City). Some places on the map have the ring of
truth. Lubavistan is roughly where the Lubavitchers live. And parts
of Fashtoonks (which derives from the Yiddish for "stink") really
did stink once; there were pig farms in New Jersey.
"The beauty part of New York," Ms. Kalman said, "is that it is a
mishmash. Everybody is running around with a different costume and a
different story." New York, like Afghanistan, is made up of tribes
with a bunch of exotic names that mean nothing to outsiders.
New York City should take second place to no one, as Mr. Meyerowitz
said, not even Afghanistan. We are as tribal as anyone.
Steinberg's map is tribal, too, but different. His New York is a
self- absorbed city. It is us versus them. In the all-important city
you can see that taxicabs, people, water towers and windows matter.
And far, far away are all those places that don't really matter: the
Midwest is yellow, and somewhere out there must be Afghanistan.
You can't say those places don't matter to New Yorkers now.
Kandahar, Kabul and Kunduz do indeed matter. So do all the -stans
and all the -bads. The new map clearly shows that change. It looks
like a map of the Middle East has been laid over the whole city.
But if you look carefully at New Yorkistan, you'll see New York,
resistant as ever. Seventh Avenue is still in Schmattahadeen (the
rag district), and La Guardia Airport is still Taxistan. Staten
Island will always be just plain vanilla, a place that deserves the
name Stan, even if there is a camel standing in it.
So the new map is like the old. It is still us against them that
wants us dead. If the world gives you Kandahar and Chechnya, send
them back Khandibar and Kvetchnya.
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