Wonders of New York
Hansell, Nils Birger
Date of Creation:
Hansell’s ‘Wonders of New York’ captures the City at a major transition in the its life. “In 1958, more people crossed the Atlantic by airplane than by ship. Within a decade, the great ocean liners shown on the map were gone and New York Harbor’s cargo ship business went elsewhere. Moreover, the sunny urban life reflected in the map faced massive upheaval during the social and racial conflicts of the 1960s” (Hornsby). A busy pictorial map of Manhattan, from the Battery to 96th Street, surrounded by a border peopled with native New Yorkers: straphangers to sandwich-board men; and a detailed list of over 300 “wonders”. Brooklyn is described as having “many places of interest on the other side of the river”.
Hansell successfully evokes the city’s inspiring creative spirt, possibly inspired by the work of Charles Vernon Farrow, who made a similar map of New York in 1927 ‘A Map of the Wondrous Isle of Manhattan’. “The cultural self-confidence and buoyant optimism of the United States in the 1950s was further reflected in a celebratory map of New York City. Using bright colors, Nils Hansell’s ‘Wonders of New York’ depicted sunlit skyscrapers, the new United Nations Building, great ocean liners, jet aircraft, and teeming urban life” (Hornsby, page 244).