Manhattan Line by Line: A Subway and Bus Atlasby John Tauranac
When asked how his tombstone should read, John Tauranac used to say “He Designed The Subway Map That Works.” That’s how pleased he was with the critically praised New York City subway map he designed for the MTA in 1979. Ever the tinkerer, Tauranac realized that improvements could be made, and he wound up designing his own subway/b>
About the Mapmaker
When asked how his tombstone should read, John Tauranac used to say “He Designed The Subway Map That Works.” That’s how pleased he was with the critically praised New York City subway map he designed for the MTA in 1979. Ever the tinkerer, Tauranac realized that improvements could be made, and he wound up designing his own subway map which was published under the Tauranac imprint. Kudos came in for that map as well. Newsday described it as “rider friendly.” National Geographic Traveler said that “one way to make sense of the subway is to use the map produced by award-winning map designer John Tauranac.” Time Out New York said that “every home should have one.” Subway historian Stan Fischler flat out called it “the best New York subway map ever designed.” The praise continued in 2000 when Tauranac’s street atlas, Manhattan Block By Block, was published. The New York Times said that Manhattan Block By Block “offers just about all the critical information a site-seeker might need – and then some.” “Chockablock” said The New York Post.
John Tauranac’s first maps were New York Maga.zine’s “Undercover Maps,” which showed how to navigate passageways through and under buildings in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Maintaining his mole’s-eye perspective, he went on to be the chief designer of the official New York City Subway Map in 1979, and to de.sign dozens of other transit and street maps.
Wearing another hat, Tauranac writes on New York history and architecture. His books in.clude The Empire State Building: The Mak.ing of a Landmark (St. Martin’s Press); Elegant New York (Abbeville); Essential New York (Holt, Rinehart & Winston); The View From the 86th Floor (Tauranac Press); and New York From the Air (Harry Abrams). His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Seaport, New York Magazine, etc.
Tauranac teaches New York history and architecture at NYU’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies. He is a graduate of NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he studied urban history, and Columbia’s School of General Studies, where he majored in English literature.
Tauranac was awarded a commendation for design excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U. S. Department of Trans.portation for his design of the official subway map, and he was named a Centennial Historian of the City of New York by the Mayor’s Office for his work in history. For Columbia’s 250th anniversary, the Columbia Spectator has ranked Columbia’s 250 greatest undergraduate alumni at the Spectator’s Web site. To his great astonishment, Tauranac is number 193.
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