Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove
Lower Manhattan, in pig Latin
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
“A while back, I found a record album in a thrift store here in NYC, and I just had to buy it,” writes Adam King. Any cartophile will understand why. This is the front cover of Nile Rodgers’ 1983 solo album ‘Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove’.
Nile Rodgers started out as a session guitarist for the Sesame Street band, Harlem’s Apollo Theater house band and as a backing musician for Aretha Franklin and Parliament Funkadelic, among others. He became famous with the disco band Chic, best known for their hit ‘Le Freak’. A sample of Chic’s ‘Good Times’ was featured in the Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’, which is often cited as the first hip-hop record. After Chic’s demise in 1983, Rodgers founded Sister Sledge (hit: ‘We Are Family’) and focused on producing (for Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran, Laurie Anderson, INXS, and many others).
For this Nile Rodgers solo album, the native New Yorker turned Lower Manhattan into the ‘Land of the Good Groove’. The map is made to look like an antique map of the 17th century or thereabouts, down to the ornamental ships and ‘monsters’ in the water. The use of (pig) Latin amplifies the old feel of the map, and is used to some humorous effect — Brooklyn is labelled Terra Incognita and New Jersey is Nova Joisea.
Lower Manhattan’s streets and avenues also get the fake Latin treatment, and are rendered as Twenty-Thirdium, Houstanus, Canalus and Via Broadicus. Other locales include Tribeccium, Terra Financicus and Villagius Easticus. Over on the West Side is the intriguing Mysterium.
Many thanks to Mr King for sending in this image of the album cover.
Strange Maps #344
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
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