I’ve got a soft spot for subway maps. The history of the subway map traces the history of the city, and as with everything else in New York, we’ve seen controversy emerge out of the map as well. Should the subway map be geographical? Schematic? A work of it? The debate is endless.
Tonight, at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of the City of New York, various cartographers will gather for a talk entitled “The New York City Subway Map: Form v. Function.” The museum’s website describes it as such:
Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 New York City subway map, produced by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, was considered a design triumph—earning itself a place in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art—but it was also criticized as confusing to passengers. A new version of the subway map was released earlier this year, re-raising the enduring dilemma of how best to achieve both functionality and beauty. Join the creators of several subway maps, including John Tauranac and Massimo Vignelli, for a discussion about designing for the riding public, featuring Eddie Jabbour, creator of Kick Map and the NYC subway app; and Paul Shaw, author of Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story.
I’m looking forward to this one, and if you’ve got a few hours free tonight, check it out. The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220 Fifth Avenue between E. 103rd and E. 104th Sts., a short walk from the 6 train stop at 103rd St.