If you want to see a map of New York City, you have a wide variety of options. There’s Google Maps, Bing, and even a plain old paper map, if you can figure out how to get them folded back up. One person has rendered New York in the style of Super Mario World, complete with all five boroughs.
One artist, Jesse Eisemann, a writer for Dorkly and CollegeHumor, has made a very cool map of New York, and given the subject matter of the sites he’s contributed to, he’s combined the current fashion for references to classic video games and laid out New York City in blocky 8-bit style graphics dubbed, appropriately enough, Mario NYC.
The map, which you can scroll it in any direction using the arrow key, is very cool.
The map seems to show some of the standard inter-borough rivalries in the city. Queens is shown as a vast wasteland of rocks. (Guess Eisemann doesn’t care for the place.)
The whole thing is animated, with nice little 8-bit waves in the ocean and the Hudson River. Many familiar New York City landmarks are there. There’s the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, as well as some more eccentric landmarks. The Unisphere and Observation Towers should be familiar to anyone who’s seen “Men In Black.” These towers are remnants of the 1964 World’s Fair. (Fans of They Might Be Giants will also recognize the site as the place where one of their earliest and best-known music videos, “Don’t Let’s Start,” was shot. The fair is also referenced in their song “Ana Ng.”)
There are even some “boos,” the franchises name for ghosts, circling some of the spookier places in the city, such as the ruins of the Renwick Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island, which was a hospital for treating smallpox, as the name obviously implies, which was still a feared and common disease in the mid-1800s when it opened. The other places with circling boos are the Green-Wood Cemetery and the Ward House on Staten Island.
On a more cherry note, many of the more fun landmarks are represented. Coney Island, the famous amusement park, is represented, along with its iconic coasters. The Staten Island Ferry is happily bobbing along in the water. The famous Apollo theatre sign is shown uptown.
Of course, not everyone is going to be thrilled with the way the city that never sleeps is represented in video game form. “Is Brooklyn Bowl really the best representative of Williamsburg, though?” Gothamist says of New York’s hipster and Hasidic mecca.
Still this is a very cool, map and a clever reminder of how geography lives as much in our imaginations as it does in the real world. If you like this, you might want to check out these Mario propaganda posters and 20 Super Mario designs.