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Map, New York City, Pictorial, SoHo, Russo, Vintage Poster, 1986

David Anson Russo (born 1961) (after)
The Soho (South of Houston) Tour and Poster Guide Map
Surrey Litho, Inc., New York: 1986
Color process print
Signed and dated in the matrix, lower right
27.75 x 39.75 inches

Colorful pictorial large poster map of the Soho neighborhood in New York City, providing a snapshot of this exciting, fun and inventive neighborhood in 1986.  This now scarce ephemeral map was printed as a promotion for the now defunct radio station WNCN-FM to celebrate its tenth anniversary under its then owners. Drawn in a cartoony style, the map nevertheless delineates the buildings in detail and highlights local businesses and museums with colorful shapes incorporating arrows that point to their locations. The map is a time capsule of an era when SoHo was still a major art gallery district and provides what is now a nostalgic picture of this SoHo as it existed in the mid 1980s; many of the businesses are no longer there. Among the very large number of local establishments shown are  E. Buk antiques, Otto Tootsi Plohound shoes,  Nemesis II Galley jewelry, John Dellaria hair salon, Berry’s restaurant, Kyokushin karate, Luna Doro gallery, and Moondance, diner.

Product description continues below.

Description

Places of interest illustrated on the map are listed on three sides of the border with addresses and phone numbers, their locations corresponding to the grid of letters and numbers marked in the yellow map border. Other shapes point to locations of historic interest, such as “Samuel Morse (Morse Code) Lived at 321 Canal St. 1825.” An inset “History of Soho” lower left contains “Excerpts from the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District Designation Report, Landmarks Preservation Commission, City of New York.” Six paragraphs of closely spaced type discuss the history of the area from the late 18th century to the 1960s, when its cast-iron and brownstone buildings, originally constructed as commercial buildings, began to be repurposed as studio lofts by artists. The text credits the artists with coining the name SoHo, short for “South of Houston Street,” which runs east-west and divides SoHo from Greenwich Village.

The map represents a period in the 1908s when WNCN promoted itself as the younger, hipper radio station for classical music listeners in the New York area. In the upper two corners of the map are circles with the text “WNCN is 10, 1976-1986.” In the lower border is the slogan “New York’s younger Classical WNCN 104.3 FM classical station.” WNCN was an FM classical radio station in New York City from 1956 to 1993. It began as part of the Concert Network, which originated in Boston, and included five stations at the time. WNCN soon began originating its own programming. It underwent several ownership changes, and switched to progressive rock for about a year in 1974 after purchase by Starr Broadcasting. In response, disgruntled listeners formed the WNCN Listerners’ Guild and mounted a legal challenge to the station’s license that was appealed up to the US Supreme Court. The Guild then joined forces with GAF, a Chicago-based broadcaster to engineer a purchase of the station from Starr to preserve its all-classical format. The new owners developed an ad campaign, “New York’s YOUNGER Classical Music Station,” to differentiate it from its competitor, WQXR, and soon claimed the title of “Most Listened to Classical Station in the Country.” In 1993 Clear Channel Broadcasting purchased the station, changed the name to WAXQ and the format to rock.

David Anson Russo is an American illustrator currently based in Los Angeles. He studied at the School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design, then worked for the illustrators and designers Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast and Herb Lubalin. In 1990 he was signed to a book deal by Simon & Schuster which eventually ran to 11 books of interactive artwork, many of which were translated and published abroad: mazes, children’s scenes, humor, and alphabets. His designs were licensed for products such as toys, posters, puzzles and apparel, and appeared in advertising campaigns. He also worked as an animator. In 1996, he joined with Barbra Streisand’s manager Martin Erlichman to form Erlichman Russo Productions, a TV production company. He moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and has executive producer credits on three reality TV and game shows that aired between 2002 and 2007. Since 2012 he has run an enterprise called What a Great Life that sells products imprinted with his illustrations.

Full publication information: “Printed by Surrey Litho, Inc., 350 Hudson St., NYC”

Condition: Generally very good, folds as issued, the printed colors still bright, with light remaining toning and wear. Seller can have this map professionally flattened and backed with linen for an additional charge of $225 to the Purchaser.

References:

“David Anson Russo: Artist & Innovator.” What a Great Life! 2020. http://whatagreatlife.net/about/ (31 August 2020).

“David Russo.” IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1108210/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm (31 August 2020).

Edwards, Matt. “Welcome to WNCN 104.3 Tribute Site.” WNCN Tribute Site. 2003-2020. https://wncn.org/ and https://wncn.org/about-us (31 August 2020).

Additional information

Century

20th Century