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View of the World from 9th Avenue

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View of the World from 9th Avenue
Saul Steinberg's March 29, 1976 View of the World from Ninth Avenue cover of The New Yorker
ArtistSaul Steinberg
TypeInk, pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper
Dimensions28 by 19 inches (71 cm × 48 cm)
LocationPrivate collection

View of the World from 9th Avenue (sometimes A Parochial New Yorker's View of the World, A New Yorker's View of the World or simply View of the World) is a 1976 illustration by Saul Steinberg that served as the cover of the March 29, 1976, edition of The New Yorker. The work presents the view from Manhattan of the rest of the world showing Manhattan as the center of the world. The work of art is an artistic representation of distorted self-importance relative to one's true place in the world that is a form of perception-based cartography humor.

View of the World has been parodied by Columbia Pictures, The Economist, Mad, and The New Yorker itself, among others.[1] The parodies all reassign the distorted self-importance to a new subject as a satire. The work has been imitated and printed without authorization in a variety of ways. The film poster for Moscow on the Hudson led to a ruling by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. in favor of Steinberg because of copyright violations by Columbia Pictures.

The illustration was regarded in 2005 as one of the greatest magazine covers of the prior 40 years. Similarly-themed perception-based cartoons had preceded Steinberg, notably a pair by John T. McCutcheon were published on the front page of the Chicago Tribune in the early 20th century. The 1922 McCutcheon work is regarded as an inspiration for this work.


Saul Steinberg created 85 covers and 642 internal drawings and illustrations for The New Yorker,[2] including its March 29, 1976, cover, titled "View of the World from 9th Avenue".[3] This is regarded as his most famous work. It is considered an example of unintentional fame: Steinberg has noted that the type of fame that resulted from the work has diminished his significance to "the man who did that poster".[4] The work is sometimes referred to as A Parochial New Yorker's View of the World or A New Yorker's View of the World because it depicts a map of the world as seen by self-absorbed New Yorkers.[5][6] At one point The New Yorker applied for a copyright from the United States Copyright Office for the work. It assigned the copyright to Steinberg and subsequently reproduced posters of the painting.[6] Among Steinberg's other works are precursors and derivatives of this work.[7]


John T. McCutcheon perception-based cartography humor
United States cartography cartoon
January 16, 1908 Chicago Tribune front page cartoon
United States cartography cartoon
July 27, 1922 Chicago Tribune front page cartoon
Two prominent perception-based cartography cartoons that preceded Steinberg's and are in the public domain. The 1922 cartoon shows similar satirical "exaggerated regional chauvinism" of New Yorkers.

The New York Times geography editor, Tim Wallace, notes that perception-based map humor has existed since at least a January 16, 1908 Chicago Tribune front page cartoon by John T. McCutcheon, titled "Map of the United States as seen by the Finance Committee of the United States Senate".[8] That cartoon depicts big eastern cities (Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and Albany, New York) as the main focus of bald, old, cigar-smoking white men in the United States Senate as they temporarily resolved the Panic of 1907 with the Aldrich-Vreeland Act until they could work out the Federal Reserve Act a few years later. It shows Chicago's location near a depiction of Lake Michigan as a "western village", which may be a midwestern dig at Congressional attention focused on the East Coast of the United States.[9]

Various authors state that McCutcheon presaged Steinberg with his July 27, 1922 Chicago Tribune front page cartoon titled "The New Yorker’s Map of the United States",[10][9][11] The prototypical New Yorker is depicted dressed like Mr. Monopoly or British aristocracy in tweed clothing and a deerstalker hat.[9][10] By playing host in the work, he invites the audience to observe from his viewpoint.[11] In McCutcheon's work, the rest of America is New York City's backyard including Detroit (the home of the automobile industry) depicted as the garage and Chicago (with Union Stock Yards) as the food warehouses both situated correctly along the Great Lakes that are presented as a fish pond.[10] New England is his schoolhouse and farmers are his "tenants".[11] Washington is depicted as an ancillary wing to the building that represents New York City, while livestock ranches symbolize the West, mines symbolize California and oil wells symbolize Texas, all showing that the rest of America exists for the benefit of New York, which likely inspired Daniel Wallingford.[9] Of the various New Yorker satirizations, this map, with its sharp criticism, is perceived to have the most socio-political commentary.[11]

"The New Yorker’s Map of the United States" is falsely titled in a digital edition of the Chicago Tribune article as "The New Yorker’s Idea of the United States,"[10] which is a separate 1930s perception-based humor map by Wallingford.[9][11][12] In Wallingford's parody, which he self-published in 1932,[9] and which was professionally published by Columbia University Press in 1936, Minneapolis and Indianapolis are depicted as the Twin Cities.[12] It depicts Manhattan and Brooklyn both on a scale larger than most states and portrays Wilmington, Delaware as if it is in the West.[9] Wallingford's map, which makes a similar statement to Steinberg's, is presented in a style that evokes memories of early European exploration maps.[11] Although originally a black-and-white work, it is now produced with colorization.[9] It was republished several times with some sources showing 1937 and 1939 publication dates.[13][14]

In 2015, Bloomberg News presented another stereotypical self-centered view of New York City from 1970 that depicts Manhattan as 80% of the world and the other four boroughs as another 10%. The South is reduced to references to Texas, Miami and Washington DC. It eliminates the Midwest by melding New Jersey with the West Coast, and presents only trivial foreign depictions.[15] The authorship of this rendition is anonymous.[16]

Steinberg most likely was inspired by McCutcheon's 1922 map although people commonly trace it back to Wallingford.[9][11] Even someone expert enough to be a senior geography editor for The New York Times thought Wallingford was the inspiration until he stumbled upon McCutcheon.[8]


The illustration is split in two parts, with the bottom half of the image showing Manhattan's Ninth Avenue, Tenth Avenue, and the Hudson River (appropriately labeled), and the top half depicting the rest of the world. It is a westward view from Ninth Avenue. Buildings along Ninth Avenue are shown in detail, with those between Ninth Avenue and the river also shown but in less detail; individual cars and trucks are drawn along the streets, and pedestrians are drawn along the sidewalks. The rest of the United States is the size of the three New York City blocks and is drawn as a rectangle bounded by North American neighbors Canada and Mexico, with a thin brown strip along the Hudson representing "Jersey", the names of five cities (Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas; Kansas City; and Chicago) and three states (Texas, Utah, and Nebraska) scattered among a few rocks for the United States beyond New Jersey, which is in bolder font than the rest of the country beyond the Hudson. Washington, D.C. is depicted as a remote location near Mexico. The Pacific Ocean, slightly wider than the Hudson, separates the United States from three flattened land masses labeled China, Japan and Russia. The image depicts the world with a back turned to Europe.[17] Everything beyond the Hudson River is shown without significant distinguishing characteristics.[11]

The work is composed in ink, pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper and measures 28 by 19 inches (71 cm × 48 cm).[18] When exhibiting this work along with alternate versions and sketches, the University of Pennsylvania summarized the work as a "bird's-eye view of the city from Ninth Avenue in a straight line westward, with space becoming ever more condensed..." They also described the work as a tongue-in-cheek view of the world.[19] New York interpreted the New York-centric mind's view of the rest of the world as a set of outer boroughs as iconic.[20] National Post journalist Robert Fulford described the perspective as one in which the entire world is a suburb of Manhattan.[21] The theme that New York City is a cultural mecca that is "the centre of things" had pre-existed this work in various forms of media such as John Dos Passos' 1925 novel Manhattan Transfer, Leonard Bernstein's 1944 song "New York, New York" or Boogie Down Productions' subsequent hip hop song "South Bronx".[22]


View of the World has been imitated without authorization in a variety of ways.[4] The work has been imitated in postcard format by numerous municipalities, states and nations.[19] Steinberg had stated that he could have retired on royalties from the many parodies made of the painting, had they been paid, a motivation for his eventual copyright lawsuit for the Moscow on the Hudson use.[23] Fulford, writing in The National Post, noted that the metaphor of the world as a suburb of Manhattan was "understood and borrowed" by the whole world. Local artists, especially poster artists, presented similarly compelling depictions of their own provincial perceptions. Fulford demonstrated the prominence of this work by mentioning that a high school in suburban Ottawa made imitating View of the World an assignment in its graphic arts class. He also noted that the result of this assignment was a worldwide variety of global foci from which the students viewed the world.[21]

The illustration—humorously depicting New Yorkers' self-image of their place in the world, or perhaps outsiders' view of 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 Steinberg held on his work.

The cover was later satirized by Barry Blitt for the cover of The New Yorker on October 6, 2008. The cover featured Sarah Palin looking out of her window seeing only Alaska, with Russia in the far background.[24]

The March 21, 2009 The Economist included a story entitled "How China sees the World" that presents a parody that is also an homage to the original image, but depicting the viewpoint from Beijing's Chang'an Avenue instead of Manhattan. A caption above the illustration reads "Illustration by Jon Berkeley (with apologies to Steinberg and The New Yorker)". It accompanied an article that discussed the burgeoning Chinese economy at the time of the contemporary financial crisis.[1]

The October 1, 2012 cover of Mad Magazine satirized the problems with the September release of Apple Inc.'s iOS 6 mobile operating system which included Apple Maps, a replacement for Google Maps. The work presents what View of the World might look like if one had relied upon the September 2012 version of Apple Maps to locate various landmarks.[25][26][27]

Other parodies have depicted the view from Massachusetts Route 128 technological corridor,[28] Princeton University,[29][30] Tel Aviv,[31] Jerusalem,[32] various European cities,[33] and various other locations worldwide.[34]

David Runciman has described Elon Musk as if this artwork depicts how his mind works claiming that Musk sees big Tesla, Inc. factories and only minor details between them and outer space.[35]

Critical review[edit]

On October 17, 2005, the American Society of Magazine Editors unveiled its list of the greatest 40 magazine covers of the prior 40 years and ranked View of the World from 9th Avenue in fourth place. The listing stated that the work "...has come to represent Manhattan's telescoped perception of the country beyond the Hudson River. The cartoon showed the supposed limited mental geography of Manhattanites."[36] Chicago Tribune writer Steve Johnson describes the work as the best expression of "New Yorkers' maddeningly internalized sense of superiority about their place of residence".[37] Even Chicago's Newberry Library considers Steinberg's satirization of pretentious New Yorkers to be the grandest presentation of the subject.[11]


  1. ^ a b "How China sees the world". The Economist (front page). Retrieved June 16, 2021.; Article (subscription required)
  2. ^ Woo, Elaine (May 14, 1999). "Saul Steinberg; Artist Best Known for Covers and Cartoons in the New Yorker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  3. ^ "The New Yorker Cover, View of the World from 9th Avenue". Condé Nast. March 29, 1976. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Brim, Orville Gilber (2009). Look at Me!: The Fame Motive from Childhood to Death. University of Michigan Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0472050703.
  5. ^ Kennicott, Philip (July 15, 2008). "The New Yorker Cover and the Challenge of Satire". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Merryman, John Henry; Albert Elsen; Stephen K. Urice (2007). Law, Ethics, And the Visual Arts. Kluwer Law International. p. 548. ISBN 978-9041125187.
  7. ^ "View of the World from 9th Avenue & Steinbergian Cartography". The Saul Steinberg Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Wallace, Tim (March 16, 2016). "@WallaceTim status update". Twitter. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jacobs, Frank (April 19, 2022). "Satirical cartography: a century of American humor in twisted maps". Big Think. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c d Johnson, Steve (2019). "More than milquetoast". Chicago Tribune (digital edition). Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i "McCutcheon's View". Newberry Library. January 24, 2013. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  12. ^ a b "A New Yorker's Idea of the United States". Cornell University. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  13. ^ "A New Yorker's idea of the United States of America". DavidRumsey.com. 1939. Retrieved December 31, 2023.
  14. ^ "1937 Wallingford Satirical Map of the United States". Geographicus.com. 1937. Retrieved December 31, 2023.
  15. ^ Metcalfe, John (July 31, 2015). "A New Yorker's Delightfully Stereotypical Map of America". Bloomberg News. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  16. ^ "New York City". DavidRumsey.com. 1970. Retrieved December 31, 2023.
  17. ^ Jacobs, Frank (February 7, 2007). "72 – The World As Seen From New York's 9th Avenue". big think. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  18. ^ "View of the World from 9th Avenue, 1976". SaulSteinbergFoundation.org. Archived from the original on November 29, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  19. ^ a b Leymarie, Jean. "Saul Steinberg". Almanac. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  20. ^ New York. Vol. 39. New York Magazine Company. 2006. p. 96.
  21. ^ a b Fulford, Robert (June 21, 2005). "A 'parody of talent': A new book posits that Saul Steinberg did for art what James Joyce did for literature". RobertFulford.com. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  22. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (September 8, 2006). "Film & Music: Readers recommend songs about New York". The Guardian. p. 4. ProQuest 246507637. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  23. ^ Boxer, Sarah (May 13, 1999). "Saul Steinberg, Epic Doodler, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  24. ^ ""The New Yorker Cover – October 6, 2008 – A Room with a View". condenaststore.com. October 6, 2008. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  25. ^ Busis, Hillary (October 2, 2012). "View of the World from 9th Avenue… as seen on Apple Maps". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  26. ^ "Apple Maps Wreak Havoc with New Yorker Cover". Mad Magazine. October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  27. ^ Mack, Eric (October 2, 2012). "The New Yorker's view from 9th Avenue – via Apple Maps". CNET. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  28. ^ "Route 128" Poster, kirbyscudder.com
  29. ^ "View of the World from Nassau Street". Princeton.edu. December 11, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  30. ^ Lange, Gregg (January 19, 2010). "Rally 'Round the Cannon". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  31. ^ Motro, Shari (July 30, 2006). "The View From The Bubble: [Third Edition]". Boston Globe. p. D10. ProQuest 405014742. Retrieved November 23, 2023. THE COVER OF LAST WEEK'S Time Out Tel Aviv was a local variation on Saul Steinberg's famous New Yorker cover "View of the World from 9th Avenue." Allenby Street is in the foreground, followed by Rothschild Boulevard, Shenkin Street, Kadishman's three-dot sculpture, the Yarkon River, and beyond it, all crammed in together: Baghdad, Tehran, Haifa, Tiberias, Acre, Beirut, a battleship, jet planes, missiles, explosions.
  32. ^ "Jerusalem (In the Style of Steinberg)", chisholm-poster.com
  33. ^ "The New Yorker variations, moorsmagazine.com
  34. ^ "View of the World from", September 9, 2014, imgur
  35. ^ "What makes Elon Musk tick? I spent months following the same people as him to find out who fuels his curious worldview". The Guardian. September 23, 2023. Retrieved November 23, 2023. It's like the old New Yorker cartoon View of the World from 9th Avenue, in which 10th Avenue looms large, the rest of the US small, and the rest of the world barely gets a look in. But this one doesn't feature New York. For Musk, nowhere in the US looms very large, nor does much of the rest of the planet. Sometimes he notices China, or India, but most of the time he sees only what's in front of his face, or what's well beyond other people's ken. Tesla factories are big, but there's not much else that stands out before we reach outer space.
  36. ^ "ASME's Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years". American Society of Magazine Editors. October 17, 2005. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  37. ^ Johnson, Steve (November 11, 2010). "Chicago's lord of the riff is king of New Yorker". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 23, 2023.

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