Map of the Month–December 2014

NYC bike map 2014. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection

NYC bike map 2014. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

In celebration of the recent announcement of the expansion of the Citibike program in New York, I have selected the “NYC Bike Map 2014” for December’s map of the month.

This map is remarkable in the density of information it conveys. Although I have only shown the top portion of the full-page map, you can see in the corners no less than 20 insets showing details of various bridge approaches and crossings. The map itself conveys through color protected bike paths (green), bike lanes (red), and shared lanes (orange). The dotted lines indicate possible paths and lanes.

The verso shows two maps: a close up of Manhattan with the parts of Brooklyn and Queens along the East River (with insets) and Staten Island (with insets). There is also a directory of bike shops and graphics summarizing bike laws and safety tips. All on one sheet that will fold to 20 x 10inches!

We recently received a donation of NYC bicycle maps stretching back to 2001. A comparison of the lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn section of the 2002 NYC map with the current map (both seen below) shows clearly the strides New York has taken on its path to becoming a bike-friendly city. While it was easy to circumnavigate lower Manhattan and travel to Brooklyn over the bridges as early as 2002, venturing into the boroughs on your bike meant riding on potential bike routes alongside regular traffic. In 2014, not only are there several north-south protected bike paths in Manhattan, but there are many bike lanes crisscrossing Manhattan and northern Brooklyn.

NYC cycling map, 2002. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

NYC cycling map, 2002. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.


NYC Bike Map 2014. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

NYC Bike Map 2014. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.


The web site NYC Bike Maps has archived online bike maps, including many specialized versions.

There are of course apps available to help plan a bike route in the city as well. Yet the appeal of the paper map is not diminished. Indeed, it may be a safeguard—what if something happens to your phone? With this map, you have the entire system of bike lanes, paths, and routes in your hands. Like an app, it will tell you well enough how to get from one place to another, but it will also urge you to something more like an adventure, for at a glance, you know where you could go given time and good weather. Could the appeal of the possible help account for the more than 375,000 free NYC Bike Maps distributed in 2014?

Interested in seeing more maps? You can view the BHS map collection anytime during the library’s open hours, Wed.-Sat., from 1-5 p.m. No appointment is necessary to view most maps.

This map was cataloged with funding provided by a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) “Hidden Collections” grant.


About Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller has been cataloging maps at Brooklyn Historical Society since August 2013.
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