New York has always been a popular subject for cityscape art because of its recognizable street grid, diverse population and constantly changing skyline. The culture of New York City has inspired map illustrators and cartographers throughout history. Most map illustrations are filled with stories of New York’s culture at the time that they were created.
One of the earliest map illustrations of New York City shows New Amsterdam as it stood when the British took over the city. The map illustration shows the tip of Manhattan Island that is covered by gardens, buildings and British Man-0f-War ships in the surrounding waterways. This rare map has been carefully selected from the massive map collection of New York City’s Public Library.
New York’s Public Library has a collection of more or less half a million maps and considered to be the largest collection all over the world. It is the home to some of the best pictorial maps of New York City spanning four centuries.
Map illustrations are particularly intriguing to those who are interested on the social and cultural aspects of a certain place. Since map illustrations are entertaining and fun, they do not necessarily adhere to the rules of geography and cartography. They usually reveal the view of a certain place at a particular point of their cultural history.
In traditional cartography, map makers have to adhere to scale and perspective. Map illustrations represent culture and artistry and provide more opportunity and freedom to express the map illustrator’s view of the city. Cartographers who are artistically inclined opt for New York City because of the new things that they can explore.
New York City has so many facets that can be included in the maps from physical and permanent to social and ephemeral. The city is the most mapped metropolis all over the world because it encourages complete cartographic freedom.
If you need an artistic illustration of views and a graphic presentation of a certain place, your best option is cityscape art which a product of creativity and skills. The map illustration is created from the favorable vantage point to show a scene as it looks from above at an oblique view.