In the summer of 2009, writer Becky Cooper began handing out prints of Manhattan to strangers on the street, asking them to personalize the images and mail them back to her. She hatched the idea a few years earlier while working as a cartographer to create a public-art map of the island. “Instead of hiding the subjectivity of the mapmaker, as I felt like I was doing, I would celebrate it,” she says. “And from the collection of these personal portraits, the city would emerge.” The results are compiled online at mapyourmemories.com
, as well as in her new book, Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers,
which includes a foreword by New Yorker
scribe Adam Gopnik. (He isn’t the only notable local to get onboard; well-known Gothamites such as Yoko Ono and David Chang contributed their own geographical scribbles to the project.) On Monday 29, Cooper and Gopnik will talk about the book and what this city means to them at 92YTribeca; in the meantime, we asked Cooper to pick a few of the more memorable drawings to have dropped into her mailbox.