Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Yorkistan

Since talking about New Yorker covers, this one above is one of my all-time favorites. The artist is Maira Kalman and you can see her other covers here.

As for me, I live on the border of Fattushis and Fuhgeddabouditstan. And I work in Schmattahadeen.

Some back story:

"New Yorkistan" is an original design that became the cover art for the 10 December 2001 edition of The New Yorker magazine. It was created by longtime REMO friend Maira Kalman in collaboration with new friend, illustrator Rick Meyerowitz, and is, according to the American Society of Magazine Editors, #14 on the list of the top 40 magazine covers of the past 40 years.

The design depicts the boroughs of New York City, as well as individual neighborhoods within the city, giving each a name a "funny mixture of Yiddish, Farsi, and New Yorkisms" based on the history or geography of that area of the city: Lubavistan, Kvetchnya, Irate, Irant, Mooshuhadeen, Schmattahadeen, Yhanks, Feh, Fattushis, Fuhgeddabouditstan, Hiphopabad, Bad, Veryverybad, Khakis and Kharkeez (in Connecticut), and so on ...

The response to New Yorkistan was overwhelming. The magazine disappeared from newsstands in two days, becoming the best selling issue of The New Yorker in history.

Some Background: By early November 2001 the people of New York had settled into a deep funk. The ramifications of September 11 had set in and the war against the Taliban had begun in Afghanistan. "When their cover came out, suddenly a dark cloud seemed to lift" ... according to a glowing piece by Sarah Boxer in the 8 December edition of the New York Times. She went on:

"New Yorkers were mad for the map. They laughed. They shared it. They recited their favorite joke names on the map, making sure you had the proper Yiddish: the name Gribines (for the Hudson River) means chicken cracklings. They checked out your cultural knowledge: Blahniks (the Upper East Side) is where everyone can afford Manolo Blahnik shoes. What? You don't understand. Youdontunderstandistan? You should be banished to Outer Perturbia (somewhere on Long Island). Perhaps not since Steinberg's drawing had New Yorkers pored over a magazine cover so long. Of course, the maps are totally different. Steinberg's is a delicate drawing done in perfect perspective, with fully realized cars and little witty dotted lines separating Canada from Chicago and Mexico from Washington. The drawing by Ms. Kalman and Mr. Meyerowitz is flat and naïve. Aside from a funny perplexed camel standing in the middle of Stan (Staten Island), the humor is all verbal."

According to Maira, the inspiration for the cover arose in a car on the way to a party. She and Rick were talking about tribalism. At one point she came up with the idea of "Bronxistan", to which Rick replied "You know, we've got a map here." Originally, the picture was to be run on the back page of the magazine, but editors liked it so much that it was decided to make it the cover picture.

The above was quoted from this website, which offers up some pretty cool product based on New Yorkistan, and some sketches of the work in progress. Also, wikipedia has further trivia here, making this one of the few magazine covers to garner its own entry.

1 comment:

GregW said...

In response to the "Help Make Poverty History" thing at the top: Jesus said you will always have the poor with you. You can help one person, maybe many, but there will always be more. Don't take my word for it... look at Jesus' words.