It’s like Christmas morning for pedestrian advocates! This week’s New York Times Magazine is all about walking, from the very act of perambulation to all the ways that the city—any city really—is best appreciated on foot. And the cover is a street-scale work of art.
This is not Photoshop! The art was shot practically, from a helicopter over one of the city’s many new pedestrian plazas, part of a hugely successful pilot program to give parts of major streets back to walkers.
The giant pedestrian was made from strips of paper which were laid down on the ground, allowing the actual pedestrians to walk all over him. In fact, they didn’t even notice.
Here’s how they made it, in collaboration with French artist JR, who wanted to focus on how immigrants contribute to street life:
In addition to the cover art, there are some other highlights in the issue that should not be missed:
- All the walking tales in the magazine are plotted on an interactive map of the city, which allows other walkers to contribute their own stories
- An awesome poem by Steve Duenes about “how to walk” in New York City: Walking in New York is not Mick Jagger. It is James Brown (featuring delightful animated illustrations by Geoff McFetridge)
- Interviews with New Yorkers who track their steps a la Fitbit
- A glossary for understanding the signage and slang of the part of NYC that’s home to the city’s jewelers, known as the Diamond District (basically, look out for the “Mame-zitser”)
- There is a story about how RATS navigate the city on foot. Rat freeways!
- Some of the most comprehensive and sensible investigative journalism I’ve seen on protecting pedestrians from the city’s hit-and-run epidemic
- Retracing the work of Robert Moses—who displaced at least 250,000 people to build infrastructure for cars—on foot
There’s lots more to to explore, so head over to the magazine’s site. Better yet, pick up a copy this weekend and take it on a stroll to the local coffee shop.