View of the World from 9th Avenue

The New Yorker cover (March 29, 1976) ‘View of the World from 9th Avenue,’ has come to represent Manhattan’s telescoped interpretation of the country beyond the Hudson River. The cartoon showed the supposedly limited mental geography of Manhattanites. The image shows Manhattan’s 9th Avenue, 10th Avenue, and the Hudson River (appropriately labeled), while the top half depicts the rest of the world. The rest of the United States is drawn as a square, with a thin brown strip along the Hudson representing New Jersey, the names of five cities (Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Kansas City, and Chicago) and three states (Texas, Utah, and Nebraska) are scattered among a few rocks for the U.S. beyond New Jersey.

The Pacific Ocean, perhaps twice as wide again as the Hudson, separates the U.S. from three flattened land masses labeled China, Japan, and Russia. The illustration, depicting New Yorkers’ self-image, inspired many similar works, including the poster for the 1984 film Moscow on the Hudson; that movie poster led to a lawsuit, Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 663 F. Supp. 706 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), which held that Columbia Pictures violated the copyright that Steinberg held on his work. Another homage was created for the cover of The Economist newspaper’s March 21–27, 2009 issue entitled ‘How China sees the world.’

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