John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Iconic New York crams more than 400 local landmarks into one poster, including the Naked Cowboy and a vicious raccoon.
Plenty of New York maps highlight the Statue of Liberty and tell you how to get to Carnegie Hall. Few include the French dude who climbed The New York Times building or one of the (possibly rabid) raccoons that savaged a woman in Central Park.
Iconic New York features these nuggets of local lore and much more—the Naked Cowboy strumming his guitar in Times Square, the scourge of froufrou micro-dogs in the Upper East Side. Made by Manhattan’s Alfalfa Studio, the poster incorporates more than 400 landmarks, including 173 lovingly rendered buildings. It took more than two-and-a-half years for Alfalfa’s Rafael Esquer to research and produce, and should reward owners with hours of staring and discovery.
On its site, Alfalfa explains why Esquer made the 27-by-40-inch poster:
For years, Rafael Esquer was disappointed whenever he searched for the perfect New York souvenir to give to his guests. To him, nothing on the gift shop shelves captured the elegance and energy of the City he loves. At last, he has done something about it.
Esquer has designed a museum-quality poster that is now becoming a favorite New York keepsake of visitors and residents alike. Named Iconic New York, his poster features hand-drawn icons of the City’s architecture and artifacts, packed into a vibrant collage forming the shape of Manhattan itself. Inspired by naive art, Iconic New York embraces viewers with its confetti of colors and details. “Everybody loves New York,” says Esquer. “I wanted a beautiful souvenir that says, New York loves you back.”
To help scavenger hunters, the landmarks are reproduced with identifying text along the poster’s edges. Below, find a complete view and some close-ups of the map, whose partial proceeds reportedly will go toward minority scholarships at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design (Esquer’s alma mater).
Map, $39-$55, from Alfalfa New York