For my final project I plan to map and and display, in an interactive fashion, the world of New New York City from the television show Futurama on top of a map of New York City circa 1999.  Futurama, first released in 1999, features a main character, Philip J. Fry, who is frozen on December 31st, 1999 and awakens on December 31st, 2999.  Much of the show is based in and around New York City (called New New York City in the year 3000), and much of the show’s humor and social commentary comes from the way the city is reimagined.  New York, both the city itself and ideas of it, are what drive much of the shows identity.

I want to compare New New York to 1999 New York specifically, as opposed to New York in the modern day.  Futurama ran over a period of fourteen years, and during that time New York itself changed noticeably.  By the end of the series run, the New York City being parodied no longer existed.  While Futurama adapted some of the changing landscape of New York, for the most part is was still based in the New York of the late 90s.  The show then exists as a record both of New York as it once was and New York as it was once envisioned.

I plan to create this through some sort of software like Neatline.  I envision this as a blank map of modern day New York with two translucent, toggleable overlays.  One overlay would be of New York City in 1999, and the other would be New New York City from Futurama.  The user could have one or both overlays active at the same time to see how things do, and don’t, match up.  In terms of content, I would focus on locations that are in the show, and their geographic counterparts in 1999.  While, as far as I have found so far, no explicit map of New New York exists, we do have some hints as to where things are geographically.  Planet Express, the shipping company and center for much of the show, is located on the Upper West Side between 70th and 72nd.  In the first episode we can see part of a tube map which shows the familiar shape of Manhattan.

As for specific points of interest, I would focus on locations in the show and their historical counterparts, as well as the few locations in the show for which there is no historical precedent but we still have a location for.  For example, the Head Museum, which features in a great many episodes, has no real world counterpart, but we are given an address for it that corresponds to a real world location (68th and Broadway).  Some locations are parodies of others that exist in reality.  For instance, a regular character on the show is Celebrity Chef Elzar, who is based on Emeril Lagasse.  He runs two restaurants in the show, one of which is based on Tavern on the Green, the restaurant in Central Park.  And in a few cases, there are landmarks that seem not to have moved at all, such as the Statue of Liberty.

I plan on using these points of interest as points on the map.  Users could click on them to see what those places were like in 1999 and what they are like in Futurama.  Included would be images if possible, as well as a write up as to the significance of the location.  While some of the locations would be more mundane, others would provide an insight as to the nature of New York City in 1999.  For instance, the show has a clear bias towards Manhattan in general and the Upper West Side in particular, an area that, having once been in vogue, seems to have had its time in the sun.  Also notable are the places in New York not covered by the show, which this map would make apparent.  Brooklyn is hardly ever mentioned or visited, despite its prominence today, and stands as a good example for how the show’s depiction of New New York didn’t evolve with the real time evolution of New York City.

My main source of information would be the show itself.  Considering it ran for ten seasons, there is no shortage of material.  I would also look into interviews with the show’s creators and writers.  I would also need to rely on maps of New York, both historical and current, to use as points of comparison.  Ultimately I see this as an ongoing project, one I actually hope to continue with after actually finishing the semester, considering the amount of detail that could go in to something like this.