Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Mapping Manhattan: How 10 Women See the City

In 2009, when I was still an undergraduate student at Harvard College, I began a project called Map Your Memories: I walked the length of Broadway, handing out blank letterpress-printed maps for tourists and locals alike to fill out. I would eventually distribute 3,000 total maps and receive 300 completed maps back. I published 75 of the submissions in Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers, which came out this past April. 

Click on the maps to enlarge.

I made a list of mapmakers and she was on my list, but I wasn’t really sure if I was going to chance it because she’s such a legend. Then one day I was walking with a friend from out of town—I was showing him and his friend from home around New York—and we’re passing by The Dakota and I did the typical New Yorker thing: “This is the Dakota, this is where John Lennon was shot, and this is where Yoko Ono still lives, I think.” And my friend’s friend says right away, “Oh, she does.” And it turns out that 11 years ago, this guy’s friend ran into Yoko in front of The Dakota, and he takes a piece of paper out of his bag for her to sign. Instead, she rips it in half, and hands one half back to him, and she says, “If you meet me back here in exactly 10 years, I’ll give you the other piece and I’ll sign it.” He meets her a decade later—they corresponded over the years, I guess—and she returns the half and signs it for him.

So I got Yoko’s address from this guy, and I wrote her a letter. I put in a blank map, and I let my dad mail it because The Beatles are his god, and a month later I get an envelope back from The Dakota. There was a letter, it said something like, “Ms. Ono is generously excited to participate in your project. Here is her contribution.” I was floored! But I tell this story and people always say she that she has a knack for these wonderful magic tricks.

A lot of the maps in the book happen to be love stories, in one way or the other—maybe partially because I’m a sucker for those stories, but also largely because the maps that came back were, predominantly, these memories of real emotional poignancy. There were as many heartbreak maps as there were love story maps. In this one, her love of Manhattan is intimately connected to this love story of the reason she came to the city in the first place, and even if the romance went away, she still comes back to the city. A lot of these love stories were so mixed and mingled with the smells and sights and sounds of the city, and I think that’s what makes people so hopelessly connected to this place.

This is a condensed version of the letter she mailed with her map. She talks about her husband and their memories together. I tried to get the essence of it—her lifelong relationship to this fabled place, the way that it’s sort of been her Museum of Natural History, like it is for Holden: this is her place that doesn’t ever change all that much. And that’s her measuring stick for how much she’s grown. When I was handing out the maps, I encouraged people to fill the whole map with just one story, and that’s exactly what she’s done here:

I was probably around the same age as the young woman who approached me [with a blank map of Manhattan] when I first arrived in NYC, although my heart had arrived years before that—the Christmas of 1958, to be precise, when I was 7 years old and I received a copy of Eloise who took me through those “revolving doors with a P on them” for the first time. It was a circuitous route between the ages of 78 and 22 getting to Manhattan but one that I now realize was as magical as inevitable...

I haven’t been back to The Plaza since it finally re-opened even though I hear that The Oak Room is open to the public. I’m not sure why I haven’t gone in yet because I have no doubt the magic, along with Eloise’s portrait, is still there somewhere despite all the tarting-up and exclusivity that comes with a 5-mil-and-up-per-unit price tag. Perhaps I’m just waiting for the right moment—or an invitation. In the meantime, I’ll continue to look forward to the next time I walk through “the revolving doors with a P on them” and see what Eloise is up to these days.

Oooooh, I absolutely love New York! I absolutely do.

This one I know is from a girl who was in college at the time, and she was looking to spend her summer ticking off this bucket list of things. If you look at the map it says things like, “learn to dance” and “figure out what to do when I grow up." Her map is about her learning to step back and figure out who she is—literally off the grid. She just drew her own thing. I think it’s gorgeous, and it’s a sentiment that I know I can relate to, where you need to stop and pause before really beginning. And in her case she had a whole series of things that, together, almost feel as concrete as a place.

I love her writing and her humor. I knew she was the first woman on the Harvard Lampoon and so I was hoping her map would be as hilarious and earnest as she is. And I was not disappointed. I love the playful take, and how it touches on the deeper possibilities of the map—like, there’s only so much I can draw.

I really know as much as you know about this map. I don’t know who sent it or how old they are, or anything. I love the delivery. She’s not like, look at me, look at this double life, she’s just like, this is where I worked and this is where I earned the money to do this work. I loved the little asides—“I’m too nice for pro-dom work.” It’s perfectly done. You see that close proximity of the two lives and you can see how we all do sort of live double lives here. I don’t even think her lifestyle is that uncommon, but to see it laid out so bare is great. 

She is one of my heroes in creative cartography. She wrote a book called
The Map Is Art, which celebrates the aesthetic potential of cartography. This map is her at age seven, going to New York for the first time. I love that children’s perspective—you can see her childhood memories sliding into her understanding at a later time: the man in the restaurant turns out to be Salvador Dali, and a lot of dancing ladies turn out to be The Rockettes. She was experiencing New York as just this awesome place, not just the New York that is defined by what you miss. She wasn’t like, “oh my god, I need to go see The Rockettes”—but it turns out to be one of her most amazing memories of New York anyway. In the book I paired her map with all of these riots at Columbia, like the anti-war rally in Central Park's Sheep Meadow. I paired those together because they both took place in 1967. It’s interesting to see the city from two so very different perspectives—the young girl compared with this guy in his late teens, early 20s.


This was from a girl who lost her sister, and she sent it with a note:

When I heard about [this project], I knew my map would have a photo…and initially I thought it would be of my sister, Ava.

When someone passes away, they are everywhere (at least I really believe that), and Ava is nowhere more than at every turn I make in the city. I struggled for a long (long!) time deciding how to realize my idea—photo on top? around? superimposed?—and then it hit me. The problem wasn’t how to insert Ava into the map. The problem was that it wasn’t just Ava who belonged there. My whole family is in my life in the city—the four of us as a unit—and the city courses through our veins, carrying us along its life like a river.

So here we are! The city is us, and we are the city.

P.S. Just in case you were wondering, Ava always wore safety pin earrings. Hence, the safety pin.

I was really connected to this map because it really captures sense of trying to separate one’s experience of the city from the city itself, which I think is really difficult. In compiling these, I was trying to find a way to make a book that is about New Yorkers as much as it’s about the city. I wanted to celebrate the fact that city is this dynamic evolving organism and that it’s often about relationships between people and places, rather than just these fixed coordinates.

What I love about this map is that it combines the history of New York with her own personal history. Up top you see she’s written scenes from the American War of Independence, and then further down it’s a Mia Farrow sighting at the restaurant, and even more simply, in Central Park, where “we saw a bluebird.” Or seeing Jackie Onassis running around her own reservoir. 

I really like this mix of personal and collective memory. Both are sort of personal, in a way, because she can’t help but walk through Inwood without thinking of New Amsterdam. In a lot of other maps there’s this frontier line, where people don’t have any associations—historical or otherwise—within the area.

Mine is a funny combination. I wanted to show people what my space looks like, which is totally lost—if a place  doesn’t have an emotional peg to it  it doesn’t actually exist in my head. These are sort of my best of New York highlights smushed all together. There’s Battery Park, where I always used to have lunch in high school, and there’s West 4th in the West Village, and then these nondescript buildings, because that’s sort of what the rest of Manhattan looks like in my head. And I included 59th street because of the horses and the beginning of Central Park. And then, randomly, the Brooklyn Bridge juts into the fire escape. There are a couple instances of me walking with some person, because I think my New York is a love story as much as the next person.

Beyond that, the quote underneath is from this Truman Capote essay, “New York." The very beginning of the quote says, "It is a myth, the city... for anyone, everyone, a different myth"—I really liked that notion, that it’s a different myth for everyone. We all come here with a different idea about the place but with this notion to peruse and discover ourselves—and that sort of connection, despite the many different faces of it, is something I found over and over and over again in the city. It might even speak to why people did make these maps. It was their chance to both reflect on where they’ve come and how it resonates with them and share what their shape of the city is that they’ve worked so hard to carve. It may be self-selecting, but both the men and women who did maps included these moments of deep emotional significance—not just, this is where I live, this is where I work—and maybe that’s something New York brings out in people.


All maps excerpted with permission from 
Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers, by Becky Cooper; foreword by Adam Gopnik. Published by Abrams Image.

91 Comments / Post A Comment


It's things like this on days like today that make me want never to leave this city. <3


@adriana I don't particularly want to live in NYC, but it's a cool place.

What I just love about this project is how someone like me gets to see inside the minds/hearts of people who feel a really strong connection to this particular place. It's an immediate and intense little connection with people I have never met, and I love it.


Agreed! And you could really do this with any city, any home. Seeing/reading those connections make me want to visit whereever it is that connection exists, immediately, so that I can know it too.

Citizen Christy

@adriana You're the best, Adriana!

I loved looking through this and I couldn't stop visualizing what mine would look like. Our city, I tell ya.


Sigh...New York is not everyone's epicenter, contrary to Hairpin articles. Just thought I would remind the editors. We live other places, too.

Emma Carmichael

@thelibrarianne Hi. Only one of the Hairpin's editors lives in New York (guilty!), and we thought this was a very cool project, no matter where you live.


@thelibrarianne Sometimes I can't read the Awl because it makes me feel like since I don't live in NY, it will not pertain to me. "will" and not "does" was used on purpose in that sentence.

That said, this is cool, and major props to Becky Cooper for the initiative. And the Yoko.


@Emma Carmichael It's very cool. I didn't mean to unload on this particular piece, but I have anyways. Sorry to the author. I just think some perspectives on living in cities from across this silly huge country would be cool, too. The Hairpin has been very New York-centric lately, and historically. I'm beginning to feel like this isn't my space.


@thelibrarianne I've never lived in New York so I definitely know that people live other places!


@Emma Carmichael I've always felt like the Hairpin was based in New York, even though of course internet isn't necessarily "based" anywhere geographically, and I'm pretty sure the majority of readers are* from New York as well. I don't mind it, I think it's kind of cool actually, specifically because I'm not from there. Not to say @thelibrarianne's feelings aren't true and valid, just offering my 2 cents.

*although oh my GOD i would LOVE to see some kind of map showing where all the Pinners are from.


@thelibrarianne How odd. I live in New Mexico, which is the farthest reality from New York, and really enjoy the New York-centric pieces. They remind me of the crazy foreign energy I feel when I am there and I feel a little sorry that New Yorkers don't get to experience the wide open spaces that are the only existence I can live in anymore.

I would love to get a New Mexico map project going, it would be awesome.


@j-i-a Maybe I'm defensive, because of past, bad experiences with which I will not bore my fellow Hairpiners. I lay down my sword and retreat meekly. But if anyone would like to discuss the merits and joys (seriously) of living in a moderately-sized city in the Midwest, I am your vessel.


@thelibrarianne write it, girl! submit it! so that we may enjoy it as we enjoy this piece.


@thelibrarianne If this post isn't to your specific taste, finding a beautiful art project about your city and sending it to the tip line might be more helpful.


@thelibrarianne I had this reaction at first too, and then calmed down, because it's a neat project and I enjoyed the maps -- I think it was the end paragraphs that just went a little over the top in the usual NYC mythologizing. If you're from elsewhere, you really do get oversensitized to the subject, and some days just one more piece about the mystery&magic of New York etc etc can feel like too much, even if it's not actually unreasonable.

I would be very much in favor of more location-specific articles that were about other places, though. I actually think the percentage of NY pieces on the Hairpin has gone down in the last year, but that's more because the overall number of location-specific articles has too. I'm from the SF Bay, which is probably #2 on the annoying list to people who are not from NYC or CA, so it doesn't even have to be stuff about my home, just about people living somewhere different, you know?



(ie: moar place stories, not fewer. this is a neat article!)


@iceberg I've always wanted to do it! I'm a technical writer by trade (I guess; I write policy guides in a public health field), so I struggle with making things NOT boring anymore. Because literally, our main editing rule is take out any emotion in our writing, and it's stuck. But maybe I should just shut up and try.


@Amphora You're probably right. I'll take your advice. But I do enjoy how responsive the editors of the Hairpin are, and I appreciate that I can voice my opinions and that they acknowledged them in the comments. That's one of the reasons this website is great.


@thelibrarianne Not at all. I don't think there's anything wrong with your initial complaint or the fact that you voiced it; perhaps MANY Pinners feel the way you do, and it would definitely be better for Emma & Jia to hear it and be able to take action, rather than just wondering why their readership dropped off.

we are all allowed to have our own opinions here, and we're all allowed to say them! Mine just happens to be different from yours. (although again I say, I would ALSO like to hear similar stories about non-New York places that I haven't lived in either).

I mean maybe people want to know what it's like to live where I live, I don't know!


@thelibrarianne Your style of professional writing probably deals well with specificity, though, and a ton of emotion and humor can be conveyed through a thoughtfully dry accounting of telling details.

PS: I <3 NY but live out in the great elsewhere (NM; what up, WineRanger!). While this piece didn't set me off--the project kind of demands a population density like NYC's--I feel the same about Choire's first-thing posts about the goings on in NYC. I don't want anything set on "blast" first thing in the morning, nor am I crazy about starting the day with a reminder of all the stuff I won't get to see and hear. :(


@thelibrarianne Dude I think technical writing - any kind of dry writing - is actually very good training for other types of writing. I was a copywriter on the side for a couple of years and it's been hugely helpful for everything else I've tried to do since, weirdly. Anyway shouts to moderately sized Midwest places, I'm all up in one right meow


@thelibrarianne I got to spend what I call my "Paris" years (the early '70s, I was 18-22) going to school and working in Minneapolis. It was crazy fun with mad love affairs, adventures galore, and no one was a stranger. Every memory is a shining gem, and I'm flashing on a lot of them right now.


@thelibrarianne I feel you, although I think the Hairpin does a good job of not being as totally NYC-focused as a lot of other sites I read. I really like location specific pieces, though, and it would be awesome to read more from people in other parts of the U.S., and the world.


@iceberg I want to hear about where you live! (I remember that you don't live in the U.S., is that right?)

Also, I second your desire for a Pinner map. That would be the coolest.


@Mae I do live in the US (coastal GA), but I'm from Australia.

honey cowl

@thelibrarianne THANK GOD yes.

edit: I loved the maps. But I am so sick of New York City being The Only Place People Talk About. Like you maybe this is my own problem more than the Pin's.

honey cowl

@j-i-a I live on the Best Coast right now but I am from the middle of the country (both the midwest & the regular west), and it can be exhausting sometimes reminding these coastal folks that the middle of the USA exists & it is awesome.


@honey cowl I need to hear more about the middle, because as a foreigner, before I moved here my vague ideas were as follows:
West Coast: Beaches. Hollywood.
East Coast: New York. Kennedys.
Northern states: Cold.
Middle states: Corn farms and potatoes.
Southern States: Fried chicken, racism and a discernibly different accent.

Yes, I learned everything from TV and movies and ETA yes I moved to the fried chicken area, because obviously.


@iceberg Northern-Middle States:

sculptures of dairy princesses carved out of butter

a sadly eroded but once strong union/socialist-leaning political scene

vibrant regional cities with developed arts and music scenes

affordable housing, less costly standard of living

Prince, John Mellencamp

The Chicago Art Institute (ketchup optional)

Moonshine Mona Lisa

@thelibrarianne Midwest technical writers represent!

I understand where you're coming from. For many years, I got extremely crabby about NYC being the perceived center of the universe. This was mostly inspired by bands and comedians who decided to only tour in NYC and LA, forsaking their fans in other parts of the country. I didn't even want to travel to NYC, but I finally did in 2011 and I could finally understand what the hype was about. I don't want to live there, but I definitely want to go back.

I do feel that the Midwest gets overlooked by a lot of publications (especially ones dealing with the food and bar industry), and that can bring those old feelings to the surface again.

I really enjoyed this article, and the 'Pin makes me appreciate all the good stuff about NYC and other places people live. I'd love to see more articles on other cities and countries, too.


@thelibrarianne I think you'll find that Washington is actually your epicenter, whether you know it or not. We control all the money & nuclear bombs, what does New York have, some dumb magazines nobody buys?


@iceberg You mean that's NOT how the states are divided up?

Real talk though, I don't even live in America (and I know there's a lot of other Pinners who don't either) and I don't mind that it's often really US-centric, so NY-centric is a whole level below my annoyance threshold.

Citizen Christy

@iceberg This is such a good idea. I have a friend who's a cartographer, maybe we should set up an email account and put together addresses for this.


@Citizen Christy @iceberg @mae I'm a cartographer, I actually just emailed the Chief Pinners about this! It would be such a fun project. If I don't hear back from Emma or Jia before the end of the week, I'll just throw up a link to the survey in the FOT.

Maybe your cartographer pal would like to collaborate?

Citizen Christy

@Vicky Maybe--let's see if we get this thing going first and then I can mention it!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@WineRanger I feel this way too! Reading from Montana.


@oggmonster That reminds me of the dialect map from a few weeks ago, in which "The City" was New York for everybody, except the tiny doughnut around Chicago. That's certainly how I felt growing up.

New York looms large for lots of people (my dad was a born and bred New Yorker, so I grew up with lots of stories, plus it's in every movie ever). Moving there felt like one of those inexorable things that would just have to happen someday, if I wanted to be sophisticated and important.

Then I got older and realized I was really happy where I am. It's a cool place, but I really like being a hick from the sticks. I enjoy my provincial laidback-ness and inability to be remotely hip or with it. Then again, we haven't got Yoko Ono here and I want to read about Yoko Ono, so I'm still up for being inundated with NY things.

(plus, I want my city to stay tiny and reasonably undiscovered, so I need NYC/Chicago/LA to deflect attention)

honey cowl

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I love Montana. You just became even awesomer in my eyes.

honey cowl

@iceberg Sigh, you missed the 2 best parts of the country in your assessment:

PNW: RAINS ALL THE TIME (we just tell people that so they don't move here & ruin it)
Rocky Mountains: the most beautiful place ever, impossible to breathe, cowboys


@honey cowl Also, Southwestern: enchiladas, vaqueros, cheep beer, tubing, snakes, margaritas, mesquite, barbeque.


@Vicky @iceberg Oooohhh, maybe we could do something along the lines of the charts The Billfold has been putting up lately ("How Much Do You Spend on Groceries Every Week?", etc.)! Start a dedicated thread where everyone posts their location, then aggregate and chart the data?


@Vicky YES do it!!!


@sophia_h I would be very much in favor of more location-specific articles that were about other places, though.

Yes! I think this puts it very nicely. I love reading things about regionally specific experiences... but would love to hear about more regions. I know the things that keep my in my city (Cleveland) are the goofy specific things -- I'd love to hear about the secret things from everyone's cities.

I'm excited to see what @Vicky's survey is all about!


@thelibrarianne I grew up in New York, and now live here again. I love this city, although I do sometimes chafe at it's insularity, and I had the same reaction. I think this is a neat project that would be way cooler if it asked people to map a diverse range of places.

maybe partying will help

Well this is a book that I need. I love maps, I love psychogeography, and even though I have never been to NYC I love reading about people's cities.

(and now I want to do a similar project called, maybe, Tramping Tampa)


@maybe partying will help I love the word "psychogeography."


@maybe partying will help What about Invisible Cities?

maybe partying will help


When I found out about that thing I actually yelped. Because it was like, Here is a word for a thing that I have felt and been interested in my whole life! IT'S A THING!


Yes. Yes. The only Calvino I have read actually.



Judith Slutler

@maybe partying will help y'all need to read "The Image of the City" by Kevin Lynch, IT IS SO GOOD

maybe partying will help

@Judith Slutler

aaaand added to my Amazon wishlist. :B

the upstairs girl who frowns at the piano

@PistolPackinMama Me too! Best new word I've heard today. Mental mapping is so fascinating to me, and yet I wasn't even aware that it's an actual Thing.


@Amphora @Judith Slutler Thanks for the tips, and in return may I recommend "City of the Mind," by Penelope Lively.


@HereKitty Let us all exalt in the term "chronotope."


Originally from Lit Crit/ philosophy of language, but now used all over. One def= fusing of time and space into a thing- map, object, painting, photo, whatever. And a focus point around which we build memories. Like these maps!

maybe partying will help


ahhh chronotope is one of those literary criticism terms that I encountered in linguistic anthropology before any of my actual English lit crit courses. I like the interdependency of time and place that the term implies.


@all There's some pretty awesome psychogeography literature/art centered around London as well that I studied at college. Including one guy who made hand-drawn maps of London a bit like these Manhattan ones, except I can't remember his name or find him on the internet :(
Patrick Keiller's 'London' is a film I could watch again and again for how amazingly it links place to personal and cultural memory.

the upstairs girl who frowns at the piano

@PistolPackinMama Can I just download your brain into my brain? This is so fascinating and is going to send me into a rabbit hole of new information that I might not escape from all afternoon, which is just the best thing I could ask for on my day off.


@maybe partying will help Yes! Maps are my true love (maybe this has to do with growing up with a dad who made maps for a living?) A big part of my "writing process" as a zine making teen was "crafting an emotional geography" of Cleveland. It's the only thing I've ever really dedicated myself to.


@lookuplookup Oh, man, I want to see it!

@the upstairs girl who frowns at the piano sure. It should take 45 seconds, and then you will have to restart your systems. This process will be fueled by red wine and... some white wine, too.


This song<3 x@n


whoa, has Manhattan always been shaped like a whale?

When I was a kid someone told me Manhattan was an island and I was so mad that somebody was trying this on me. it was barely above "hey did you know the word 'gullible' isn't in the dictionary" as a prank. I have BEEN to New York before, I explained to them. I went there on the train. We did not stop and get into a boat. can train wheels roll on water? Is the train filled with helium? is it made of magic? How stupid do I look exactly?

anyway when I say I was a kid I mean I was 23 or something, and I still do not believe a city can be an island. what, is it also filled with elves?

the end.

maybe partying will help


My BFF had to draw me a map of NYC on a napkin this past Christmas before I really could understand how the place is laid out.


@queenofbithynia I understand this so hard. My response was something like "that isn't possible, why would the biggest city in the country be on a fucking island."
I stand by my incredulity to this day, because seriously, who thought this was a good idea??

Citizen Christy

@queenofbithynia Elves. Elves everywhere. Actually, let me tell you about the two people I see a few times a week who are better than elfin: the small child who plays theremin at my subway station and the man who sells bubble guns while filling 6th Avenue with bubbles every morning before 9.


@juksie Agreed wholeheartedly. "Let's just put the epicenter of our financial system on this tiny island, it will probably be totally fine!"


@juksie Another fun point is that NYC is not just Manhattan!


@meetapossum Ha, true! But until approx. a year ago I thought all of New York was on Long Island, because maps are hard for me. (Also, as a native Kentuckian, I'd never really bothered to look that closely.) When I figured out that it's actually on 3 different islands and part of the mainland I just became more confused and incredulous.


@Citizen Christy I must work near you! The bubble guy was out today!

Citizen Christy

@rosinator Flatiron?!


@queenofbithynia I have spent the last half an hour looking at a map of New York because HOLY SHIT how have I never known this before?! Also, place names in countries not your own are amazing.

Judith Slutler

I definitely first read ths headline as "Mapping Masturbation", thx Sarah Silverman.


Oh, NYC. I think if I had gotten a map it would be marked Penn Station: "Here is where I waited for the train to Long Island back to school at 4:30am, helping a lady buy her drunk pizza with dollar coins", the Met "here is where I puked on a Met guard's shoes at 7 years old, she didn't believe I had stomach flu", 5th Ave, "here is where I got blisters marching in the St. Pat's Parade.."

I was a terrible NYer.

Hello Dolly

Regarding Yoko Ono, there was a telephone in the John Lennon exhibit at the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, and she would randomly call up and talk to the people who answered. This is all hearsay as I never experienced it myself, but it would fit in with her "knack for these wonderful magic tricks".


@Spicy Bubbles I got to see the exhibition she was exhibiting (how would you say that less terribly? Need moar coffee) when she met John. And there was a ladder with a magnifying glass and chess boards with all white pieces and a plexiglass maze with a toilet. It was really immersive and enchanting. I've been a huge fan ever since. Season of Glass is also one of my favorite albums ever.

Really, she's so cool I cannot even explain how cool.



Hello Dolly

@lookuplookup That is AWESOME! What did she say? What did you say?


@Spicy Bubbles I was a panicked teen who couldn't believe what was happening! Yoko was very, very kind though and asked me questions about what books I was reading, what I was doing in school, etc. It was not the kind of conversation that involved the imparting of rich wisdom/life changing advice, but it was great. She was very, very kind and wonderful and I was a stumbling, graceless fool. It's rare that I go up to the Rock Hall (the cost of admission is really prohibitive and they hardly ever have exhibits that I'm interested in), so I'm so glad that my dad dragged my surly teen self up there that day.

Hello Dolly

@lookuplookup Thank you for sharing the story! It is just beyond cool that you got to experience that. I'm with you on visiting the Rock Hall. I went there a few months ago with some friends from out of town. This was their first visit, and I hadn't been in several years. We all left very disappointed, what with the cost and the (very few) exhibits. I do regret missing the Women in Rock exhibit from last year or the year before.

miss hawkline

@Spicy Bubbles I was so delighted to read this! She sent my parents a fruit basket at a restaurant in SF back in the early 80s, no words were exchanged but they did the nod and smile. It's my favorite story.

Basically I love Yoko forever--she was nice to my mom


God, I love Yoko. Sarah Lawrence girls represent!

Also, sigh, I miss New York. A lot more than I thought I would when I had the big "you mean our baby could have its own room somewhere else?" epiphany. Double sigh.


As a lover of maps and a "curious about other people's experiences" type, I loved this. I would love to see similar projects about other places -- maybe a 'Pin collaboration, "here's a bit about where I live and what it means to me" deal? Could be neat.

As someone who has only ever been to NYC twice as a tourist, it's always fun to see how it differs and how it doesn't differ from my view of it, as an outsider.


@Scandyhoovian That would be a really great idea, I think.


Yessss I had been trying to figure out what to get my mom for her birthday and this is perfect. (Born in New York, moved to New England for grad school and never left, still refers to it as "the city". We spent so much time there when I was a kid visiting friends and family. And I will refrain from writing my own essay here in the comments.)


I think I would just draw a bunch of bridges coming out of the right side & write "ONLY WHEN REQUIRED >:(" on Manhattan.


Coming out of Hairpin lurkdom to say that as cool as this project is, it ignores a whole bunch of the city. I live in the Bronx! I live here, too. If I were to map out my story, I wouldn't be drawing on Manhattan.


enjoyed this, especially as a new transplant to the city! love the way the past, and the present come together in this.


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