For fans of transit cartography, the New York Subway Map Debate of April 20, 1978, is remembered as a legendary showdown between two irreconcilable approaches.
On that evening inside Cooper Union’s Great Hall, Italian designer Massimo Vignelli attempted, in vain, to defend his abstract map of New York City’s subway system against the push for a more accurate and detailed one being ushered in by John Tauranac, then the chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority’s map committee.
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