New York mapped by hand

Cartography (aka mapmaking) dates back to, quite literally, the cave man. The earliest maps consisted of cave paintings, rock carvings, and clay-tablet etchings before ever evolving into to two-dimensional paper drawings. Now anything other than the computer-generated kind smacks of archaism—unless, of course, it’s the forward-thinking work by British illustrator Jenni Sparks.

Commissioned by online art vendor, Sparks produced an intricate, hand-drawn map of New York City — an undertaking that required three months of research, planning, and meticulous sketching.

The result is more than merely a representation of boroughs, subway lines, and landmarks, as Sparks merges detailed accuracy with the whimsical nature that is so characteristic of NYC. The artist’s tribute to The Big Apple is especially meaningful in the wake of Hurricane Sandy; for in spite of the devastation, New York is uniquely resilient — and Sparks’ renderings remind us of the surviving spirit of The City.

Jenni Sparks

Jenni Sparks’ meticulous aerial-perspective of New York City.

Jenni Sparks

Manhattan highlights from The Theater District to Times Square to Bryant Park.

Jenni Sparks

Such gems as Gramercy, Greenwich Village, and The Meatpacking District are brought to life with just the right amount of quirk.

Jenni Sparks

The New York Stock Exchange—including special attention to the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the present-day Occupy Movement. 

Jenni Sparks

The cultural vibe of SoHo and Tribeca.

Jenni Sparks

The tourist-driven Central Park area, flanked by the Upper West and East Sides.

Jenni Sparks

Williamsburg boasts beer gardens, churches, and studios.

Jenni Sparks

When looking for quintessential New Yorkers, look no further than Queens and Astoria.

Jenni Sparks

No rendering of NYC would be complete without iconic Liberty Island and the Lady that it houses.

Jenni Sparks has tackled London and New York — which city should she take on next? Let us know what you’d like to see.

  • MediaLoot

    This is amazing. I can’t believe all of the detail. Love it!
    Philadelphia next, please:)

  • Epsilonium

    It is so creative work. I have never seen such a work before. Every main spot is clearly defined here. It’s a hand driven tough to create work. Thanks so much to to distribute such a nice. I am also going to populate this on social media too.

  • J. Scottsline

    how about second city, second? these drawings are beautiful…

  • Stig Bratvold

    Wow this is just amazing! Love the style :) Would have loved to see more city maps in this style…