clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This Gorgeous Map of 1950s NYC is Full of Detail, Whimsy

New, 1 comment

It's no secret that we love weird and fun maps over here, and this gem that's been making the rounds via 6sqft is no exception. The map—titled "Wonders of New York" and created by graphic designer Nils Hansell sometime in the 1950s—is essentially a colorful guide for tourists, but it's also so much more.

Full of tips for out-of-towners, the map has over 300 detailed illustrations of the titular "Wonders" of the era. It covers virtually every pier, rail line (subway and elevated), tunnel, and bridge, plus neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves from "9. The old Syrian quarter" in Lower Manhattan, all the way up to "296. Yorkville lederhose & bierstube" on the Upper East Side. Suggested sights range from the familiar ("241. Remarkable Rockettes in the Music Hall"), to the forgotten ("106. Rhinelander Gardens are New York's New Orleans"), to the downright baffling ("68. 8-ft Bowery-Mose carried keg of beer for thirst").

More fun maps:
This Map Shows You the Best Book Based in Each NYC 'Hood
This Is How NYC Would Look if It Was Created in Inception
Mapping New York Neighborhoods Hit Hardest by High Rents

Sadly, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx are squashed into deformity in the corner, and poor Staten Island is nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, Manhattan is a veritable "Where's Waldo?" of detail, and the map as a whole offers a fascinating snapshot of New York in the middle of the 20th century.

Any lover of history, cartography, design, or playful art could very well end up spending hours poring over the thing. But for that, you'll need to make your way over to the high-res scan at David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
· Amazing Detailed Map from the 1950s Shows 300+ 'Wonders of New York' [6sqft]
· Wonders of New York [David Rumsey Cartographic Associates]
· All Cool Map Things [Curbed]