La vecchia Nuova York di una volta.

La New York Public Library ha mappato la vecchia New York, con fotografie che vanno dal 1870 al 1970:

This site provides an alternative way of browsing the NYPL‘s incredible Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s collection. Its goal is to help you discover the history behind the places you see every day.And, if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even discover something about New York’s rich past that you never knew before!The images all come from the New York Public Library’s Milstein Collection. While many photographers contributed to the collection, the majority of its images are the work of Percy Loomis Sperr, who documented changes to the city from the late 1920s to the early 1940s.

Quando New York ti fa venire nostalgia di Londra

Racconta Bim Adewunmi sul Guardian che la sua avventura con la metropolitana di New York non è stata proprio come se l’era immaginata:

Instead, I have found myself spiralling into hysteria, driven slowly mad by the New York subway. On first appearance, it is like the London underground – trains, tickets, announcements, the crush of bodies. But then, slowly, the entire system reveals itself to you. It is the work of a sadist, cooked up in a fever dream and delivered with a flourish and an unhinged grin. I cannot believe I am about to type these words, but here we are: New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has made me homesick for Transport for London.

Descrivendo se stessa come una ragazza di citta, cresciuta tra due grandi metropoli (Londra e Lagos) e in grado di decifrare in pochi minuti complesse mappe dei trasporti metropolitani, una volta arrivata a New York si è sentita come una «babbea terrorizzata». E ha trovato molte differenze tra la metropolitana di New York e quella di Londra (già di suo una tra le più complesse):

Where in London the Central line (red) is distinct from the Piccadilly (dark blue), which is markedly different from the Hammersmith and City line (pink), New York’s map has designated the same forest green to the 4, the 5 and the 6 lines. The B, D, F and M all rejoice in exactly the same shade of violent orange. And I’m almost entirely certain that the blue of the A, C, and E lines is the last thing you see before death’s sweet embrace. Why would you do this? The whole thing resembles a child’s approximation of a city transit system: it makes no sense.

Ad aggiungere difficoltà ai non newyorkesi, Adewunmi lamenta che sui treni le mappe delle linee non sono posizionate in posti comodissimi:

If you’re lucky, there will be a single, tiny map of the subway, placed at the eye level of a small child, behind a seat that is more often than not occupied by a passenger who must then lean forward and twist their neck to the side to give you access.
If you’re taking too long – because this is a patently ridiculous system and your British brain is short-circuiting at having to work out where the hell the metal contraption you are trapped in is headed – the person sighs, grunts and returns to their original seating position and eyeballs you as if to say: “I gave you a chance. You wasted it.

Alla fine rimane solo una magra consolazione: viaggiare sulla metropolitana a New York costa molto meno che a Londra:

At least it’s cheap,” I say to myself as I rock in the foetal position. “At least it’s cheap.”

(La foto è la controversa mappa della metropolitana di New York disegnata da Massimo Vignelli, tra i più celebri designer italiani, recentemente scomparso).

London used to …

London used to be cool. Artists and pop stars and fashion geniuses by the score. But that was yesterday. Art and pop have a new place to party. It’s called New York.

Il super critico d’arte del Guardian Jonathan Jones dice che i tempi di Londra come capitale del mondo cool dell’arte sono finiti. E’ l’ora di New York, che lascia le metropoli reali a leccarsi le ferite guardando gli allori dei tempi che furono.

Non è una grande presa di posizione, probabilmente. Se non che arriva dalle colonne del quotidiano più importante del Regno Unito.