Buckle your seat belts – some big posts are coming

50 Miles in Brooklyn coverThe last few weeks, I’ve been following Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity trick, if only in my head. You can only mark an X on a large calendar if you write something on that day. Take it, Jerry:

“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain. 

Don’t break the chain.

I had gotten into a groove of posting every weekday, but I’ve spent the last few days working behind the scenes on some big-ticket entries.

The first is a follow-up to my post about subway accessibility. I finally finished adapting the Vignelli map to show wheelchair-friendly stations, and dug quite a bit deeper.

The second stems from an unusual birthday present. (Strangely, not all 28-year-olds share my passions.) My friend Harley did some great research on the Brooklyn cycling scene in the 19th century, and he dumped his primary sources in my lap. I’m hopeful I can spin his gold into … well, more gold.

My research took me, of course, to the Brooklyn Collection. Hidden next to some thick reference maps in the back is Fifty Miles around Brooklyn, published by The League of American Wheelmen in 1896. It bills itself as “A Book of Maps and Descriptions of the Best Roads, Streets, and Routes for Cyclists and Horsemen.” This tome does not disappoint.

Want to ride your bike from New York to Yonkers? Brooklyn to Patchogue? How about all the way to Philadelphia? The guide gives you turn-by-turn directions.

There’s also a map of roadways in the future boroughs, divided into “Fine”, “Fair”, and “Unrideable or Unknown”. (Remember, the city wouldn’t consolidate until two years later.) As a little teaser, here’s the map of Brooklyn roads in 1896, geared toward cyclists.

Brooklyn bike map 1896

Stay tuned – there’s much more to come. (You can always subscribe at top right.)

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One Response to Buckle your seat belts – some big posts are coming

  1. Harley N says:

    No one spins old into gold as well as you. Early bicyclists had a huge influence on our roads; it is time to give parts of those roads back to them!
    Let me know when you are ready to be mired in another project!

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