Art

World perspectives: View of the World from NYC 9th Avenue

A person’s perspective on the world is shaped by many factors including where they were born, how much they have traveled and where they spent a big chunk of their lives.

View of the World from 9th Avenue is a classic map and illustration showing how New Yorkers see the rest of the world.  The great and simple design was created by Saul Steinberg and it was first published as the cover for the March 29, 1976, edition of The New Yorker magazine.

View of the world from New York's 9th Avenue

View of the world from New York’s 9th Avenue

The map shows – in a greatly simplified but therefore powerful way – how New Yorkers might see the rest of the world if they faced west on 9th Avenue.  The 10th Avenue and the Hudson river are clearly shown and beyond that Canada and Mexico both make it onto the map, sandwiching a very rectangular United States.
Above all, 9th avenue becomes the New Yorkers’ own very ‘center of the universe’.

Five US cities beyond New York are included being Washington DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Chicago. Texas, Utah and Nebraska also make it onto the map. But surprisingly many other states are left out. Also, Jersey is included just beyond the Hudson, but is nothing more than a strip of land. The rest of the United States doesn’t even warrant a mention…

Beyond the United States, you have the Pacific Ocean and then Japan, China and Russia. The westward focus is prescient of the emergence of China as a superpower vs an eastward focus on the Soviet Union, the superpower of the day.

The map/illustration has led to a whole host of parodies and copycats, indicating how much of a cult classic this illustration has become, including a view of the world from Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Salzburg and a bunch of other American cities.

So how do you see the world?!

Amsterdam view of the world Florence view of the world Los Angeles view of the world Paris view of the world Rome view of the world Salzburg view of the world San Fransisco Venice

What do you think?

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