Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sportsman's Map of Manhattan

Illustrator John Held Jr. was famous for his 1920s depictions of flappers and their round-headed consorts. Less famously, he was the favorite social geographer of various top American magazines. He invented the mock-heroic phraseology I play with here. The "here there be monsters" legending that Columbus's mapmaker used to decorate the empty portions of the charts is replaced with sly japes. Instead of sea monsters and mermaids, I filled the waters off Manhattan with lox and sturgeon, and the woodlands of Midtown with wayward sporting types and their shooting boxes. There is (or used to be) a flytier's premises in or near Grand Central. All the clubs shown are real. The St. Moritz shown isn't the resort but a hotel. And Saks actually did have a ski school once. Ernie Blake, who founded Taos Ski Valley, worked there as a youth. I got my first (and only) Vanity Fair writing assignment after sending this map to Graydon Carter. I have done maps for the magazine since, as I also did for Spy, which Mr. Carter edited in a bygone decade.

No comments:

Post a Comment