Does the very geography of Manhattan make it more inviting to immigrants and other newcomers? 

The idea came up during a long walk I took down Broadway with Becky Cooper, the author of “Mapping Manhattan,” and Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker, who wrote the introduction. 

"Mapping Manhattan" is a crowdsourcing project that uncovers the intense emotional associations New Yorkers have with the island. Becky wandered about the city, handing out blank maps to people on the street and asking them to scrawl away. She also roped in celebrity contributors, like Yoko Ono and Australian supermodel Nicole Trunfio.

Love came up, as did sex, hate, prostitution, death, and Patricia Marx’s lost gloves. 

But on our walk, we kept returning to geography, and the street grid that defines Manhattan.

"The grid plan that makes New York so distinct is one that in a certain sense cancels personality," said Gopnik. "Whereas Paris and London are both, in a certain sense, organic cities, they’ve grown up over a long period of time. The irrationality of their structure is a reflection of that long history, that’s why you need to take 2 years to learn how to become a taxi driver in London. New York has a super impersonal plan. But it takes on a private impress. That corner on the absolutely rectilinear grid, of 23rd and Broadway, becomes your corner.”

"I feel like the grid pattern actually invites personality," said Cooper, "because of how non-specific it is. Because the second you come here you feel you own a part of it. There isn’t this barrier to entry, there isn’t this exclusivity of the person who’s grown up here.”

Listen to our full Micropolis conversation here.

And check out Becky Cooper’s “Mapping Manhattan” Tumblr.

I used to think London was just as sophisticated a city as NYC but this quote by Daniel Radcliffe in the Wall St. Journal puts that theory to rest:
"I do have a real love of New York now, because I’ve done two shows in New York and because New York is such a theater-based place…. I almost never get called ‘Harry Potter’ in New York, whereas over here (in London), it is a lot more."
Sorry Londoners, but you guys sound like a bunch of hicks.
btw, that’s Radcliffe as a young Allen Ginsberg in the not-yet-released ‘Kill Your Darlings.’ Please let it be better than the recent, torpid adaptation of ‘On the Road.’

I used to think London was just as sophisticated a city as NYC but this quote by Daniel Radcliffe in the Wall St. Journal puts that theory to rest:

"I do have a real love of New York now, because I’ve done two shows in New York and because New York is such a theater-based place…. I almost never get called ‘Harry Potter’ in New York, whereas over here (in London), it is a lot more."

Sorry Londoners, but you guys sound like a bunch of hicks.

btw, that’s Radcliffe as a young Allen Ginsberg in the not-yet-released ‘Kill Your Darlings.’ Please let it be better than the recent, torpid adaptation of ‘On the Road.’

Why aren’t there more minority models in the pages of fashion magazines?
The answers are often disturbing, and speak to a form of racial bigotry found in the fashion centers of New York and London — as well as a deep-rooted aesthetic that equates prestige and elitism with stereotypical whiteness (and thin-ness).
Here are a few highly-revealing quotes from fashion industry employees, from an analysis of the industry by Ashley Mears, a sociologist and former model. Her article is called “Size zero high-end ethnic: Cultural production and the reproduction of culture in fashion modeling,” and was published in 2009. Mears kept the identities of her sources private.
“A lot of black girls have got very wide noses… The rest of her face is flat, therefore, in a flat image, your nose, it broadens in a photograph. It’s already wide, it looks humongous in the photograph. I think that’s, there’s an element of that, a lot of very beautiful black girls are moved out by their noses, some of them.” —H, London Agency Director
"But it’s also really hard to scout a good black girl. Because they have to have the right nose and the right bottom. Most black girls have wide noses and big bottoms so if you can find that right body and that right face, but it’s hard.” —A, NYC Agency Scout
"Okay let’s say Prada. You don’t have a huge amount of black people buying Prada. They can’t afford it. Okay so that’s economics there. So why put a black face? They put a white face, because those are the ones that buy the clothes.” —L, NYC Stylist
"We don’t like using the same model too often, but it’s harder to find ethnic girls. And…well, I don’t want to sound racist, but— well for Asians, it’s hard to find tall girls that will fit the clothes because most of them are very petit. For black girls, I guess—black girls have a harder edge kind of look, like if I’m shooting something really edgy, I’ll use a black girl, it always just depends on the clothes.” —A, NYC Magazine Editor
“Me personally, in my opinion, there really is no good, good, black girl around. The really good, good black girl around are still the same, and are still the one that everybody wants… It’s very difficult to find one. The agency don’t deliver enough choice to make happy the client [sic].” —O, NYC Casting Director

Why aren’t there more minority models in the pages of fashion magazines?

The answers are often disturbing, and speak to a form of racial bigotry found in the fashion centers of New York and London — as well as a deep-rooted aesthetic that equates prestige and elitism with stereotypical whiteness (and thin-ness).

Here are a few highly-revealing quotes from fashion industry employees, from an analysis of the industry by Ashley Mears, a sociologist and former model. Her article is called “Size zero high-end ethnic: Cultural production and the reproduction of culture in fashion modeling,” and was published in 2009. Mears kept the identities of her sources private.

A lot of black girls have got very wide noses… The rest of her face is flat, therefore, in a flat image, your nose, it broadens in a photograph. It’s already wide, it looks humongous in the photograph. I think that’s, there’s an element of that, a lot of very beautiful black girls are moved out by their noses, some of them.” —H, London Agency Director

"But it’s also really hard to scout a good black girl. Because they have to have the right nose and the right bottom. Most black girls have wide noses and big bottoms so if you can find that right body and that right face, but it’s hard.” —A, NYC Agency Scout

"Okay let’s say Prada. You don’t have a huge amount of black people buying Prada. They can’t afford it. Okay so that’s economics there. So why put a black face? They put a white face, because those are the ones that buy the clothes.” —L, NYC Stylist

"We don’t like using the same model too often, but it’s harder to find ethnic girls. And…well, I don’t want to sound racist, but— well for Asians, it’s hard to find tall girls that will fit the clothes because most of them are very petit. For black girls, I guess—black girls have a harder edge kind of look, like if I’m shooting something really edgy, I’ll use a black girl, it always just depends on the clothes.” —A, NYC Magazine Editor

Me personally, in my opinion, there really is no good, good, black girl around. The really good, good black girl around are still the same, and are still the one that everybody wants… It’s very difficult to find one. The agency don’t deliver enough choice to make happy the client [sic].” —O, NYC Casting Director