"On the gusty day before winter’s first snow, New York commuters could be forgiven for dreaming of vacations to warmer climes. If they happened to pick up one of 400 travel brochures distributed on the Manhattan-bound F train that morning, these Brooklyn residents might have been tempted by a destination boasting average winter temperatures of 84 degrees. They would no doubt have been further intrigued to learn that this island city’s leading industries are winemaking and bookbinding, and that it features a Vegetation Museum, the world’s largest flea market, "Pools of Certitude," and a natural feature known as the Subterranean Honey Baths.
Sadly for F-train commuters and other lovers of books, wine, and vegetation, the city of New Ephemera does not exist outside the imagination of Amanda Spielman, a 29-year-old graduate design student at MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts….
The brochure–an aesthetic cross between McSweeney’s and Edward Tufte–evokes a fantasy culture where poetry and bicycle riding are exalted pastimes, and geographic features have names like Sea of Enumeration and Untold Islands. "I wanted it to seem rich and detailed, like a fairy tale too good to be true," says Spielman, who has worked as a graphic designer for Time Inc. and in art production for Food and Wine and Martha Stewart Living. Her tongue-in-cheek dream city features free ATM machines, a ban on plastic foliage, and an official motto of "people who don’t read can’t be trusted."
The Ephemeral City
By Karen E. Steen