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Thursday, May 29, 2008

View of the World

I hate to use the phrase de rigueur again, but if there ever was a need for it, this is a prime example. Because familiarity with this image, View of the World from 9th Avenue, is de rigueur for every New Yorker and anyone who wants to understand this city's people. This really is how many of us see New York City. I actually visualize the world much like this at times - when I first saw this work, I was stunned as to how close it was to my mind's perspective of the world.
Note how inconsequential things outside the city are depicted. Ironically, the area of Manhattan shown is itself one of the least important, yet it still looms large over other cities, states and countries.
The density of people and services is so great here that it really is possible to go quite some time without leaving - many Greenwich Village residents joke about how they never go north of 14th street for months or even years at a time. Manhattan is literally a world unto to itself and center for a myriad of industries. It is very easy to adopt a world view not too far from this work of art.
The image itself is a New Yorker magazine cover from March 29, 1976, created by Saul Steinberg, who did 85 covers and 1,200 drawings for the magazine. The photo was taken of a poster hanging in a shop in the Village. I didn't even have to go to 9th Avenue, seek out the original or step inside a shop - my view of the world from 9th avenue was had from the comfort of my own neighborhood in a gallery window. Now that's a New Yorker :)

9 comments:

Lady Painter said...

First of all, let me say that I love your blog.
But, what is really making me a great surprise is that, on that picture, you turn your back to us, poor Europeans - aren't we your origine, for lots of you ? and you look to China, Russia, Japan, those countries the most different of our mentalities ?
this is not a critique, it is just making me ask myself questions !
Do you think that your future is turned in direction of Asia and Russia ? Is there no more place for us ?

Abraham Lincoln said...

Nice post. I remember either that cover or one like it.

b13 said...

I just came back from a week in Cali... This cover is actually quite acurate ;)

Rahul V. Chittella said...

:) lovely!!:)

An Honest Man said...

Brian, check out my old post on Culroy. Not quite so worldwide, but...

otilius said...

Yes, the unique blend of arrogance and ignorance. And all those idiots who say they will some day "go way out to Brooklyn", when you mention Williamsburg.

Sailor Girl said...

Wonderful post! Thank you!

• Eliane • said...

I loved it! This is one of the things that shocked me when I moved here. How unaware of their surroundings people are. I come from Belgium, a little counrty at the heart of Europe where you are so very well aware of the rest of the world, being so small.
The other thing was that my NYer colleagues were always stunned that I would go to weird places like Brooklyn or worse Queens! How daring and adventurous!

Thomas said...

This poster is up at the Columbia Uni health centre, I burst into a huge smile when i first saw it, but no one could understand why. I htink this is amazing. Any ideas on where I can find one to buy?