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Map: How San Franciscans See New York City

Rikers Island: It’s like Alcatraz but REAL.

Map: How San Franciscans See New York City

In the battle for cultural dominance between America’s coastal elite, two cities reign supreme: San Francisco and New York. Both have walkable streets, cultural zest, and rich (really, really rich) residents. There, the similarities might end–San Francisco is California chill and Free Love; New York is the City That Never Sleeps. Or do they? The whimsical mapmakers at Urbane–whose specialty is translating unfamiliar cartography into easy-to-understand, cheeky guides like “California According to San Francisco Giants Fans”–have created a San Franciscan’s guide to the Big Apple, complete with neighborhood references to make the overwhelming onslaught of New York City destinations more familiar to a Bay Area audience.

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See the full map here.Urbane

In the New York City seen through the eyes of a San Franciscan, Hell’s Kitchen becomes the Castro, Port Authority becomes “Imagine if Caltrain and Transbay were 1,000x busier,” downtown Brooklyn becomes downtown Oakland, and Rikers Island, the infamous prison, becomes “Alcatraz but real.” (We presume they mean RIkers is still in-use, since Alcatraz was a pretty real prison before it became a national park in the ’70s.) Parts of the map are spot on. “An orthodox community unfamiliar to San Francisco” accurately digs at San Francisco’s relative lack of an Orthodox Jewish community. Yes, the West Coast metropolis has “no Caribbean spice to compare” to Brooklyn’s Crown Heights and Flatbush enclaves. And it’s true that the southern tip of Central Park has way, way less pot than Dolores Park.

Of course, New Yorkers who’ve been to San Francisco might have a few quibbles with how their city is portrayed. Sorry, but the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood isn’t like the Outer Mission. When it comes to being isolated from the heartbeat of downtown, it’s more like being all the way out in Santa Rosa.

Get the map for yourself here.

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About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.

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