I was recently at the Jewish Museum in NYC. I particularly wanted to see the Maira Kalman exhibit. She is primarily an illustrator, and did a charming version of ELEMENTS OF STYLE.
This show also had some odd but intriguing installation elements-ladders, shoes, buckets, even some old onion rings. Of particular interest to me were the embroidered samplers with snippets of poetry–sort of post modern aphorisms.
My sister and I got hysterical in front of the map of NYC with places like Botoxia on it. Here from Wikipedia is a list of the places:
The map itself is drawn by Rick Meyerowitz
NEW YORKISTAN–The places depicted, with their explanations (according to the artists or to commentators), are as follows:
Rikers Island, New York’s largest jail.
Situated in the theater district, this is a play on the term “artsy-fartsy”, as well as a reference to the Persian language, which is the official language of Iran.
The Upper East Side where “everyone can afford Manolo Blahnik shoes”
This is Central Park in Manhattan.
Jersey City, home of a Muslim community where women wear a chador. Also a pun on The Door Store, a well-known New York furniture store.
E-ZPass, an electronic toll collection system, based in New Jersey.
From a Yiddish adjective meaning “stinking, smelly” describing the sometime aromas of the New Jersey industrial wastelands just beyond the Palisades along the Hudson River.
Feh and Ptooey
Yiddish expressions of negativity (“feh!”, “ptooey!”) for a part of The Bronx that is considered dangerous.
This is in Brooklyn, where this place name sounds like the local pronunciation of the popular local expression “Forget about it.”
The neighborhood of Chelsea, currently a very “gay” part of Manhattan.
The Hudson River. “gribenes” (conventional Yiddish-English transliteration) is an Eastern European Jewish delicacy, “cracklings from rendered chicken fat”
Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., Blvd.
This is the actual name of the road depicted and is the only real name on the map. According to Meyerowitz, the reason is simply that the name is inherently funny: “The name never failed to make me laugh when I approached it.”
Hip hop with -bad nameplace ending. This overlaps roughly with Bedford-Stuyvesant, the most heavily African-American neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Irant and Irate
A reference to ranting and being irate, as well as to Iran and Iraq.
… (Also note the jagged lines marking the territory, a reference to the effects of caffeine.)
Southwestern Connecticut, a wealthy area that could be considered a stronghold of WASP culture and the article of clothing often associated with them.
A pun on candy bar and Kandahar.
“Can’t stand it”
This is in southern Connecticut, with the translation being “car keys”, a reference to the many NY workers who commute to the city from Connecticut.
Curs and Kurds
This is in Harlem, the “Khlintun” part being a reference to President Clinton’s office location in Harlem. Also, “Tunisia” is a primarily Islamic/Arab country in northern Africa.
A pun on Chechnya and “kvetch”.
LeFrak City, a housing complex in Queens
Presumably referring to Morningside Heights, neighborhood of Columbia University, a primarily “liberal” institution.
The former location of the World Trade Center.
Named after the Lubavitch branch of Hasidic Jews, most of whom live in Brooklyn.
Wall Street and the financial district of Manhattan. “moolah” is a common slang term for money.
Combination of ‘mujahideen’ and ‘moo-shu’, referring respectively to the Arabic term for those involved in a struggle (“jihad”) and to Chinatown and ‘moo-shu’ dishes in Chinese-American cuisine.
The one area of The Bronx that is not considered dangerous to go to.
A pashmina is a Kashmiri shawl often made of cashmere. This is in an affluent area of the city, where women can afford cashmere and may be drawn to the stylish use of pashminas.
shmatta is Yiddish for “rag”, also jocular for clothing in the fashion industry.
Shatoosh is a type of fine Kashmiri shawl made of antelope down hairs. It is located in the center of an affluent are of the city, where women can afford such a luxurious shawl.
This is Staten Island. It’s just plain “Stan” because of its nondescript nature.
This is the location of LaGuardia Airport in Queens, with its large contingent of taxis waiting for arriving passengers.
These islands (2 are North Brother Island and South Brother Island) are shaped much like potatoes, at least in the drawing.
an “area of future development” , presumably by New York developer and Apprentice star Donald Trump.
Kvetch is Yiddish for “complain”.
This is the South Bronx, home of the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium.