Relatively innocuous and informative guidebooks exist for nearly every city on Earth. Generally alike in form and function, a good one tends to be a necessity in a foreign land but they rarely offer unique insight or dynamic perspectives. The new project from Smudge Studio and Friends of the Pleistocene literally goes deeper into one of the world’s most complex cities in a fresh way. Geologic City: A Field Guide to the Geoarchitecture of New York explains what may not be obvious about the Big Apple’s roots, going nearly back to the Big Bang.
Focusing on 20 different sites throughout the five boroughs, the guide explains various connections to geological history—from taxi paint to the sandstone and limestone walls protecting the Federal Reserve Bank’s stash of supernova-born gold. Another favorite fact is about the stone from Indiana adorning Rockefeller Center formed out of 340-million-year-old aquatic fossils.
The book is filled with a lot of interesting—and for the layman relatively obscure—information that gives the reader a new lens through which to view the urban landscape. In an age where human’s impact on the globe rivals that of massive geological forces (except at a much faster rate), it’s fascinating to examine the results of unimaginable swaths of time as they fit into and shape our surroundings. The book is available for pre-order, shipping 9 September 2011.