John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Where one man's fascination with burgers and New York's MTA intersect.
Anthony Scerri loves hamburgers. He also loves New York City's subway system. Mash together these two obsessions, and what do you get?
"Burgertown" – a drool-provoking transit map torn straight from the protein-addled dreams of Bob Belcher. It's shaped like a gigantic burger, sure, but that's not the end of the sandwich similarities. The imaginary system is coursed with lines representing different classes of ingredients: a Brown Line whose stations include "Beef," "Lamb," "Bison," "Ostrich," and "Elk"; a cheesy Yellow Line with stops at "Cheddar," "Feta," and "Pepperjack"; and a (personal opinion) totally extraneous Green Line providing service to "Romaine," "Arugula," and "Iceberg."
Because Scerri's a thorough guy, there is also a Tan Line whose stations are devoted to breads (Sourdough, Brioche) and esoteric things that get added during commercial baking (Azodicarbonamide, High Fructose Corn Syrup). If you don't want to scurry into Scerri's weird mind and ride this subway all day, stopping to smell all the various neighborhoods, then there's something wrong with your appetite, son. (Or perhaps you're vegan – the map includes one paltry "Vegetable" patty.)
When he's not crafting totally ridiculous transportation systems, Scerri serves as art director for Muscle & Fitness under the watchful eye of its executive editor and proud devourer of animals, Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is not his first foray into comestible-inspired design – he's made a Periodic Table of Foods with items like latkas and snails – but it might be his most elegant. Cameron Booth, who runs the engaging site Transit Maps, lays out its attractions as well as infrastructural improvements should Burgertown find real-world funding:
Technically, things are put together well: I like the way the Cheese Line “melts” over the side of the Meat Line: yum! Perhaps the curves in the Meat Line could nest within each other a bit better: it looks like the same radius is used throughout at the moment. Hamburger purists might also like to see the addition of a “Fixin’s Line” — that might include ketchup, tomatoes, onions, pickles and so on.
Still, a lot of fun to be had here!