by Naomi Zisner and Alice Sparberg Alexiou

Tribal New York

When a pastel map of the tribalized “New York istan” appeared on The New Yorker magazine cover in December, the city’s neighborhoods were renamed in ironic recognition of September 11. The West Village was now “Artsifarsis,” and the former World Trade Center “Lowrentistan.” New Yorkers ate it up, and the cartoon’s creators, Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz, illustrators and children’s book authors, were the toast of a town that was still in shock. “When their cover came out, suddenly a dark cloud seemed to lift,” wrote Sarah Boxer in The New York Times. Three months after the attack, the air had been cleared, figuratively at least; it was now okay to make a joke referring to the worst tragedy to occur on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.

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