From Miroslav Sasek’s beautiful 1960 children’s book, This is New York.
Did you hear about Snail Mail My Email a few years back? A gentleman named Ivan Cash proposed that people send email messages for volunteers to convert into paper missives, to be sent around the world. And it worked! Hundreds of people participated and thousands of pieces of mail were sent. The fruits of that fun project have been published in a book. What a perfect gift for uh, Easter? Tax Day? Or maybe just cuz.
Yet another example of the creative potential in using the scope of the internet to foster the handmade.
Viva Snail Mail!
Who wouldn’t want handmade mail from Paris? I think no one. Do double negatives make a positive in French? I digress.
With The Paris Letters Project, Janice MacLeod is providing us all the opportunity to receive some Parisian mail. Here’s how it works. Subscribe to Paris Letters: The Haute Couture of Snail Mail for yourself or as a gift. MacLeod paints a watercolor scene of Paris, writes a letter on it, copies it and then personalizes it for you or your recipient. Then she mails it from Paris with pretty postage. She sometimes even tucks a lil Parisian ephemera in there too.
Becky Cooper is the brainchild behind Map Your Memories. Back in 2009 she walked around Manhattan, approaching strangers and asking them to fill in blank, letterpress maps with their memories. The back of the map had a return address and Cooper’s p.o. box started to fill with responses. These maps have been compiled into Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers, a book that comes out next month. It even has a forward by one of my brain crushes, Adam Gopnik. I love this project!
I have lived in New York City for 20 years and before that, was a regular visitor throughout my childhood. But this city just keeps changing. It feels no obligation to remain the way it is in my memory and that can sometimes feel like a personal insult. Visits to Manhattan from Brooklyn, where I live, are a bit of a memory minefield.
If I were to complete one of Cooper’s memory maps it would definitely include the location on The Upper West Side where I met my husband, many moons ago. And my Grandpa’s neighborhood on The Lower East Side, the subject of a documentary I made about memory and place. And maybe all the Chipotle restaurants and bank branches and pharmacies and luxury condominiums that I enjoy visiting so much. No wait. Scratch that last part. Film Forum and The Museum of Modern Art and Veselka and wandering in Chinatown. All still wonderful.
Despite my crankiness about how it has changed, I will always love Manhattan. The memories run deep. Thank you Becky Cooper for giving shape to this truth.