Mary McCarthy’s NYC

Last week I received [via Sean] the joyous news that, thanks to embeddable Google Maps, no one ever need much around in javascript and the Maps API again to create their own personalized and awesome maps viewable in the comfort of their own website.

To celebrate this time-saving innovation, I immediate spent somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hours Google mapping Mary McCarthy‘s New York, as told in her Intellectual Memoirs: New York, 1936-1938.

Now, I’ll admit I like Mary’s fiction much better (especially The Company She Keeps, my collegiate introduction to Mary), but there’s something irresistably fascinating about the lives of authors, particularly the life of someone so likable but incomprehensible as Mary—it’s impossible to understand, even in her own telling of the story, why she left Philip Rahv for Edmund Wilson.

But I mapped Mary’s memoirs primarily to highlight her hyper-awareness of the socio-economic geography of New York—on the snubs, imagined or real, she felt from the “real” Village radicals for living on the Upper East Side—and also becuase they describe a New York that doesn’t really exist any more, now that the Village is more expensive than the UES, among other changes.

Anyway, though, here you have it, as long as you’re not using Opera, in which case the markers won’t show. Enjoy:


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  • http://www.doylebrau.com Patrick

    I love the username on the larger version. Ken Speckle, har har har…

  • Leo

    I enjoyed journeying with Mary to her homes and haunts. Ken, this was a great idea and you created a nostalgic piece of work for me as a former resident at E95th and a very recent reader of MM’s Intellectual Memoirs. Thanks

  • http://kenspeckle.net/blog lauren

    Leo, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the map–I had a great time making it!

  • Leo

    Oops! I shoulda read further down to find the real creator and thanked her/Lauren/you which I do right now.

    Laurnen, please do some more of these. So many famous literary people and others have, at one time or another, been NYC residents. On the other hand, one might well ask, how many like MM go on to mention the sites. A title like Walking New York would be one that I’d like.

    L