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Mapping NYC by its most popular Instagram hashtags

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From #museumofsex to #serendipity

map of NYC by hashtag #tagsandthecity

A new and thoroughly delightful map renames New York’s subway stops for what really matters: the most popular Instagram hashtags in their general vicinity. Designed by Jug Cerovic, David Goldwich, and Tin Fischer, the map—which they’ve dubbed “Tags and the City”—uses geotagged Instagram data to map the five boroughs by Instagrammers’ obsessions (h/t CityLab).

And so the Fifth Avenue and 59th Street stop becomes #applestore (true), the PATH train’s World Train Center Station is rechristened #neverforget (oh boy) and Cathedral Parkway-110th Street is #Seinfeld, after its proximity to the famed Tom’s Restaurant. Spring Street, it goes without saying, is #cronut, and Christopher Street-Sheridan Square is #sexandthecity, which, as CityLab astutely points out, is likely after Sushi Samba, though it’s also close to the Magnolia Bakery. Other notable locations: #jacobspickles (formerly 86th Street), #robertas (once known as the Morgan Avenue L), and #doughnutplant (a.k.a. Essex Street).

On Reddit, the #mapmakers explained their #methodology.

[W]e chose the hundred most popular stations (popular on Instagram). The stations got their name mainly automatically, but with a bit of editorial choice. We calculate the most significant hashtag which is used around each station (largest deviation from average frequency of respective hashtag across all stations), usually within 300 meters. But if this hashtag is just the station’s or the neighborhood’s name we went for the next one. When a hashtag referred to an event which is not repeated each year at the same place, we skipped it too. We only counted one photograph from each account and a hashtag had to have a minimum frequency of 100.

And if the hashtags seem slightly outdated—#kinkyboots but no #hamilton??—that’s because all the data is from 2014; Instagram has since stopped providing the same level of geographic info. Still, it’s a pretty fun way to think about the city, especially if you’re curious about what eating experiences were especially popular in 2014 (#maxbrenner, apparently).

The team has also built similar hashtag maps for Paris, London, San Francisco, and Berlin, and, as with all good things, there’s a merch section, if you’d rather explore the city in pillow form.