Category Archives: Maps

The Really Big Mess: ruined NYS map from ’64 World’s Fair

I thought I had seen or heard of it all when it came to the faded glories of the Empire State, but I guess I am too young to have heard of this: Down in Queens, at the former New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair, is a giant inlaid terrazzo map — a half-acre in size — of the entire state of New York. It precisely reproduces an old Texaco road map. Or should one say, “reproduced,” since it’s been neglected and weather-beaten to the point where only a few (downstate) sections of the map have been deemed salvageable. (Classic!)

It’s like something scraped up from Pompeii, a thousand years after Vesuvius. And you can see every inch of this colossal Ozymandian wreck at a website devoted to the restoration called The Really Big Map. (The NYT story about the restoration is here.)

Some of the damage to the map is apocalyptic, such as the large patched-over area running from Oneida to the Finger Lakes (Cortland County appears to be mostly gone). While Syracuse is mostly intact (though worn), the Southern Tier is crumbled and weedy, and Buffalo and NYC both appear to have been obliterated.

Infuriatingly, Albany appears to be none the worse for wear.

Other people’s blogs

Brian Cubbison has cooked up a really useful comment map about the I-81 debate. Map-lover that I am, I must say, this is a really brilliant use of the much-overused Google map technology, which is usually used for same-old stuff like crime reports, real estate mashups and where to find wireless hotspots. The map effectively organizes the cacophony of conversation about real physical space that concerns the entire greater Syracuse community. I’d like to add a brief comment, in the appropriate spot, about the Phantom Bypass — but then again, I’m afraid when people see that spot, they’ll instead think “Yeah! What a great place for an elevated highway!”… just like the government did when they were poring over their maps of the 15th Ward, trying to decide where to put their interstate. (SU’s Mark Monmonier wrote a great book called How to Lie With Maps… maybe there could be a sequel, How to Wreck With Maps) Can we use this Godlike bird’s-eye view for good, not more stupid decisions…?

Speaking of Google maps… it looks like Google has updated their satellite photos across the state and locally. This shot just cracks me up for some reason. A new feature in the local landscape. (“If you build it, they will come!”)

Via Danger Democrat: North Country native Aragorn, heir of Gondor, endorses Kucinich.

New York Traveler does not believe that travel will save the world.

MetaEzra thinks Cornell needs a winter carnival. I’ve seen collegiate attempts at reviving winter carnivals (with stated rationales eerily similar to MetaEzra’s). I sometimes really wonder if there is just something in the fundamental makeup of today’s youth that makes them averse to the organized winter jollity their forebears enjoyed.

Find out why Simon of Living in Dryden is changing his focus in 2008!