OK, Santas’ helpers, if someone on your list loves New York, loves maps, loves travel, or just loves to get down with the details, that person might enjoy this wildly popular book of personal maps: Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers, by Becky Cooper, illustrated by Bonnie Briant, with an introduction by Adam Gopnik. Pointing to this book as a bellwether, The Guardian says hand-drawn maps are in. So much so, their creators even have their own association. “All maps tell stories,” Cooper says, and proves it with the creative contributions in this very book.
Alternatively, The Guardian story says Wellingtons Travel spent three years creating a map of modern London full of hand-drawn charm, using the 1800s style that shows individual trees and buildings. The photograph accompanying this article is similar to the Wellingtons approach, but it’s a portion of a map of Paris from a favorite poster of mine that’s so realistic, I’m sure I can pick out that little hotel I stayed at near L’Etoile.
Many people have participated in Cooper’s Mapping Manhattan project, contributing their own unique memory portraits, like the map of “My Lost Gloves.” (That one is available as a print from Uncommon Goods, which has an array of intriguing map gift ideas, including the “Single Malts of Scotland” or “Great Wines of France” tasting maps—bases for a couple of good tours, there.) Contribute to the collective mental map of the city by downloading a blank map of Manhattan on which to show the places where you took your own favorite bites out of the Big Apple. Download another and stick it in your love’s Christmas stocking.