Maps are, by nature, impersonal. They’re designed to last for years and be read and understood by millions of people. Yet there’s something lovely about visiting a friend in a foreign city and receiving a hand-drawn map, usually scribbled on a napkin, marked with their favorite coffee shops or kebab stands. That’s how Jenni Sparks’s maps feel.
Sparks, who is based in London, says she has “an undying love of hand-drawn type,” which doesn’t exactly lend itself to cartography. Even so, maps have become her wheelhouse over the past year, after a hand-drawn map of London commissioned by Evermade went viral. It included hundreds of buildings, celebrity birthplaces, local markets, social stereotypes, favorite pubs–things you’d like to know about a place you’re visiting but won’t find on a single map.
For many who bought the map, it begged the question what a similar version of New York would look like. So the admittedly Anglophilic Evermade bit the bullet and commissioned Sparks to create an equivalent map of New York. She finished it in December after weeks of work. A look at the map shows why: There are thousands of buildings and nearly as many notes pointing out things like the African burial grounds in Lower Manhattan and the townhouse where Ghostbusters was filmed. Sparks has even done a bang-up job with Brooklyn–I can see where I get my haircut and where I eat burgers on her map.