Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mapping Manhattan

As I was reading Mapping Manhattan by Becky Cooper tonight, I was instantly thrown into a fit of nostalgia while reminiscing about the past five days of Thanksgiving break when my boyfriend, Tom, flew into town. Cooper writes that “maps are the places where memories go not to die, or to be pinned, but to live forever.” 

Before Tom’s visit, I made a note on my phone of all the places I wanted to take him when he finally came to New York City for Thanksgiving break. I wanted to share all the New York restaurants, bookstores, shops, parks, fountains and streets that hold some sort of meaning for me with the person I care the most about. Now as I log onto my Google account and scroll through a map of Manhattan, I see the places that have affected me in the past semester in an entirely different color. They still hold certain memories, but those memories have been altered. Instead, the places that stand out the most are the streets that Tom and I walked on after he got off the N train at 14th St. Union Sq around 10:30pm. I see the shops that we entered when we wanted to take a small break from the cold and from exploring the city. I see “Spot”, the restaurant we visited because we were craving for desert on Thanksgiving evening. Times Square is definitely a place for tourists; it was the first place I visited when I came to New York City. People say, “You’re not truly a New Yorker if you hang out in Times Square”, but now I view it as the place I took Tom to see his first Broadway show. Rockefeller Center is where I completely took us in the wrong direction and Tom had to take control of my phone and Google maps to help us locate our destination. Central Park is where we went on our last full day together; he ran off for a few minutes and came back with a rose in his hand. These are the memories that come to mind as I scroll through a map of Manhattan and remember the past few days, days that flew by too fast. 

(Photos taken near Rockefeller Center)

People say that there are moments that you want to hold on to, moments that you wish could last forever. I honestly think I could relive the past five days over and over again and never tire of them. As I continued to read Cooper’s compilation of maps of all different styles, fonts and illustrations, I realized the beauty of mapping it all out. Cooper says, “These are their maps. Their ghosts. Their past loves. Their secret spots...these are vignettes of their lives.” Over the past few days, I’ve shared my personal map of New York City with Tom. Making a map of Manhattan for this assignment is doing the same thing. I am making “invisible cities visible” by revealing the emotions that are tied to each pinpoint on my map.
(Photos taken in Central Park)

In the end, I’ve decided to make a map based off of my Thanksgiving break for my project. So, at least when I forget about these moments in the future or if Tom and I are somehow no longer together, I can look at my map of Manhattan and see a visual record of a time when I was incredibly happy and completely at peace. 

I will post my finished project on MM in the next few weeks.