When I posted about maps yesterday, I left out a few mappy things that bear mentioning. First off, the blogosphere has been all abuzz about the advent of Google Maps, a next generation online mapping tool creates “dynamic, interactive maps that are draggable… you can use your mouse or the directional arrows to pan left, right, up and down to see areas that are hidden offscreen. You can also use the slider to zoom in and zoom out.” (From the Explore Google Maps page.)
Another mappy thing, which was actually the thing that got me wanting to post about maps in the first place, are the great maps that line the banquette wall at Florent, one of my favorite NYC restaurants. (And no, it’s not just because of the Tibor factor, they have awesome burgers too.) Fortuitously, the Chicago Sun-Times just published an article in their Travel section, French diner owner embraces NYC as own, where owner Florent Morellet talks about the maps:
The north wall is lined with maps of cities from across the world, creating an orderly atmosphere of grids and griddles.
The maps reflect his passion for community. “These are beautiful maps,” he says during a talk in the diner before the Saturday night onslaught. “There are no indexes or extra information [on them.] I don’t want to make it easy for people to figure out which city is which. I am fascinated by cities. One reason I studied city planning [from 1971-73 at Central London Polytechnic in England] is that ever since I was a kid I’ve been drawing maps.”
His father, Francois, is one of France’s noted conceptual artists. Three framed maps on the diner’s wall are his son’s drawings. “It’s not the primary thing in my life,” says Morelett, 51. “I like to do it for my father and my friends.” All of the maps at the diner are of complex cities, except for a small map that depicts the European country of Lichtenstein, only 15 miles across. “It is a memorial to [pop artist] Roy Lichtenstein,” Morelett says. “His wife still lives three blocks from here. They came every day during the week with a whole group for 10, 12 years until he died [in 1997 at age 74]. He sat. Facing that wall. Right there, every day. After he died I wanted to do something, so that’s my little homage to my best customer.”