I have made several additions to my map collection this Summer. My sister-in-law Vicki manages a charity thrift shop tied to a food shelf and has come across a few that she has given to me. I also bought several maps for $0.15 each at a garage sale while walking the dog (I picked up a wood side-table for $12 too that was in good condition but that’s not related). I got more maps (and a book) from my best friend from high school, Erik. He apparently works at a map distributer/travel book store that is just two blocks from where I work! Even better, there is a pile in the corner at his job filled with free maps (ones they cannot sell for whatever reason). I plan on visiting him at work a lot more often. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have a good friend working for a map distributer. I will continue to sprinkle my personal collection into this series which is why two of these recent acquisitions will be featured in this edition of Fun with Maps!
Map 145 is called Round About the Nation’s Capital With Descriptive Notes. It was published by National Geographic in April 1956.
It shows the entirety of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Delaware, as well as parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The aforementioned descriptive notes, however, are the coolest part. The script is far too small to see in the main image but I’ve included some examples below.
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Map 146 is of the New York City Subway System. Like the previous map it is also hard to see in the image I uploaded so there are some closeups available below.
There is no consistent scale because the map is not geographically accurate. Instead, the map is a representation of the subway system that is easier to read as more of a reference. These types of maps are popular in the actual subways so passengers can plan their routes. It does not usually matter how far they are traveling relative to the connections they can make along the way. This typically requires knowing where they are going, of course. Many of the stops in the system have cross-street intersections to clue in people already in the know.
I have experienced the New York City Subway System once in my life. I was 10 or 11 as my family was visiting the city on a two-week road trip including the campus of Notre Dame in Indiana (blegh), visiting a relative of my dad’s in Schnectady, New York, Niagara Falls, and Toronto. Since we were hauling a pull-behind camper, we parked somewhere in Hoboken, New Jersey and took the subway into the city. I do not remember the order in which we saw them but we visited a ton of NYC landmarks. We took a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty and got in line to go up into the monument. While we were in line, however, there was some kind of power failure (supposedly, for all I know there was a security threat) and we had to get back on the ferry. We got to see it from the ground and the boat but it was disappointing not to get to take the actual tour. My family walked past the World Trade Center and I, for some teenage boy reason, wanted to touch the huge buildings. I specifically remember touching the side of the South Tower for no other reason than it was really tall and I wanted to – quite important a couple years later when the towers were attacked and destroyed on 9/11/01. I’m not a fan of heights, as you may know, but we did go up the Empire State Building to the Observation Deck on the 86th floor. I was uncomfortable being outdoors that high in the air but just like any other time I’ve been on an observation deck I still took a bunch of photos once I made sure I wasn’t going to die. The last place I remember seeing in the city was Times Square. We may have done a lot more for all I know but what I’ve described is already a fairly full day of sightseeing. After that long list of activities, however, we got totally lost on the subway.
I’m not sure how we got turned around but it was late in the evening and my dad asked someone for directions. They told us the right train to take but the wrong direction! The four of us traveled East for 45 minutes before my dad realized something was wrong. We got off the train and asked a policeman at the station for help. We were in Queens, New York. It was a long ride back to Hoboken and it made the drive from Hoboken to Schnectady all that much later at night. Beth and I were going to ride the subway on our 2012 East Coast Road Trip as well but walked from Central Park to Times Square instead. New York City is an awesome place to visit even if you do get lost. They were both memorable experiences. I probably don’t have to convince anyone to visit New York, of course. It’s one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.