It’s rare to see anyone using paper maps nowadays since we’ve become so accustomed to pulling up directions on our phones. But for artist Martin McCormack, creator of The Great NYC Mapping Project, old-fashioned maps are far from obsolete; rather, they serve as mementos and as means to preserve the history of a constantly changing city. The self-described urban explorer scavenged New York City streets for over four years, collecting sundry maps from various restaurants and small businesses throughout the five boroughs. The result of his work, an epic 10’x16′ collage of the city, is on display now at the Ground Floor Gallery’s “Staycation” summer exhibition through August 17.  His work is one of six original art displays from local artists bringing a view of New York City through the eyes of its creative talent.

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“It started as a joke – I said I bet if I went around the whole city I could make maps of the whole city. It was just a crazy madman’s project in the beginning,” McCormack told DNA Info in 2012. “But I’ve been doing it for nearly three years and that’s all I’ve been doing.”

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The display is an amalgamation of take-out menu maps and brochures McCormack found on his series of adventures throughout the city.  The maps are glued on to 24’’ x 24’’ canvas panels using acid-free PVA.

“Because of the very ephemeral nature of the source material and the ever changing nature of the city, this piece is a very important and unique document of New York in our time,” writes McCormack.

See the map up close at Ground Floor Gallery located at 343 5th Street in Brooklyn. Visiting hours are 12 pm to 6 pm Thursday through Saturday; 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays.

+ Ground Floor Gallery

Images courtesy of Ground Floor Gallery and Erin Gleason