I love graphics and I love information, so I suppose it's no surprise that I should love maps and charts. Remember my glee at seeing all those old subway ads and maps at the NYC Transit Museum? Well, I just discovered that Eddie Jabbour from Kick Design, New York, has created a proposal for a new NYC subway map.
I wonder if New Yorkers would go for it? They rejected Massimo Vignelli's spare, totally diagrammatic 1972 version and we've been using variations of a loosely topographic transit map since its introduction in 1979.
Interestingly, The Kick Map "...is designed with a combination of both diagrammatic and topographic features, thus enhancing the strengths and eliminating most of the weaknesses of both types. One premise of the Kick 'hybrid' map is that while most of the time a straight line is the easiest line to understand, there are important exceptions. ... [e.g.] The Kick Map employs 'route bends' in a subway line's route to signal to the user important above-ground road changes."
Top: Vignelli's map; Center: The Kick Map; Bottom: current NYC subway map
I Got a Gift Idea
Continuing with the maps and charts theme, I found a cool site stocked with the most excellent charts, all beautifully designed, printed on archival paper, and mostly priced at $29 US. I'm so tempted to just polish off the rest of my holiday shopping right here, because I think I could find something for everyone...
How about the colorful History of Life on Earth, for example? "This poster illustrates the evolution of Life on Earth over the past 600 million years. A timeline with important ecological events and over 120 illustrations portrays the intricate changes in history that yield the rich biodiversity of today. History of Life on Earth received a semi-finalist honor at the most recent National Science Foundation International Science and Visualization Challenge." Can't beat that for $25.
Other categories include politics (Death and Taxes shows where Federal Income Taxes go), history (Race to the Moon), historical charts (like Chronology Delineated from 1813), sports (History of the Major Leagues), and pop culture (The Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music). Really good stuff.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
In further NYC subway news, I happened to be up late last night and caught this 1974 thriller on TCM. First of all, I love pretty much anything set in NYC, whether it's CSI: NY, NYPD Blue, or bad 1970s cops'n'robbers movies. (Can I welcome the US debut of Life on Mars as a hybrid of all of the above?)
But The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is none of the above--it was a really good, highly suspenseful film with a great cast: Walter Matthau as a cranky Transit Authority Cop, a young Jerry Stiller (looking suspiciously like son Ben here, I might add) as his fellow Lieutenant, a super-youthful Hector Elizando as one of the bad guys, and Doris Roberts in a brief appearance as the mayor's wife.
(I always enjoy a good curmudgeon.)
Start with a satisfyingly dark plot, add a bit of blood and brutality, mix with lots of New York City grumpiness and cynicism for good measure and add a dose of black humor and you've got a totally enjoyable evening in the NYC subway system. I suppose with that recipe it should've been no surprise that Dark Knight creator and Sin City visionary Frank Miller selected The Taking of Pelham One Two Three among last night's movies, as I discovered when he joined Robert Osborne on the TCM easy chairs. Maybe he's promoting the Christmas release of The Spirit?