—Abrams. 2021

Some of the most iconic images of New York City are diagrams. Manhattan itself can be read as a bold diagram plotted by its grid, traced by its skyline and celebrated in its pop imagery. The diagram has marked the image of the city and keeps projecting its mythologies.

DECODING MANHATTAN documents and celebrates the intricate relationship between the city and the diagram to present a retelling of Manhattan’s chronicles and urban idiosyncracies. Its language is a rich vocabulary of schematic maps, sections, cutaways and charts, that traverses lines, dots and data to embrace the diagram with a more playful attitude, in its softer definition.

This book is a vibrant reference tool, a visual account of the history of the city and its complexities via the diagram, as well as a documentation of the diagram’s possibilities for explanation, analysis, criticism and humor. It is the result of a long archival research, taking the diagram as the starting point and connecting thread tying together images from distinct disciplines and epochs that expand and reflect upon how we experience, observe and relate to the city.

“The sheer amount of specific detail and ephemera that the authors have gathered—for a city that changes so rapidly—is heartening proof that, even as a new stratum of the city devours the one that came before it, there’s some kind of human order to it all.[...] “Decoding Manhattan” is a loving excavation of a singular place, and a reminder to keep your eyes open as you walk around Manhattan, where idiosyncratic treasures can pop out of the ground every day.”


Authors: Antonis Antoniou & Steven Heller
Cover art: Christoph Niemann
Publisher: Abrams
Publication date: April 2021
Language: English

 Interview with ArchDaily