My research addresses the thesis of what has characterized the cultural role(s) of the coffee shop in New York City throughout history as a public institution, and what potentials the evolving nature of its social public sphere has facilitated and contributed to society. Despite of my change of research focus and negotiations of how to reach my overall argument, my thesis has remained consistent and driven my research to my final result.

My map shows archival material from the New York Historical Society, the New York Public Library, Artstor’s Magnum Collection as well as other online archives. Along the way, I went to do urban fieldwork by taking photographs of existing coffee shops and doing interviews with coffee shop owners, however I found when finalizing my project that my project was first and foremost about finding the new in the old and as such I chose to stick to y archival findings, of which I had collected a decent amount. This decision was also based on the fact that my urban research was performed in Brooklyn, and with my choice of leaving Brooklyn because of lack of archival material and a recognition of the problematics of drawing parallels between once two cities (my research goes back to before Brooklyn became a part of New York City), I also choose to tighten my project and let it concern my research in Manhattan. My project aims at balancing the openness of scope that the format of the map invites for, while at the same time being stringent and focused.

My structure of presentation of my research of leaving the coffee shop locations as single records and then add all archival material is arranged with the intent to make the map flexible for future contributions and for “re-plottings” of my findings into different arguments. As much as this is my personal project, I want it to be a research database for future scholars that might see different potentials in the material and draw different conclusions. I will therefore characterize my ‘project genre’ as experiential, however with a built-in argumentative narrative for my personal interpretation of the material. I have also arranged it as a networked system with linkage between all references in arguments to the respective examples. Through these design decisions I believe I succeeded in living up to my own criticism of encoded hierarchies and ideologies in maps which I particularly addressed in my map critique. I believe however that my map would benefit from the possibility of getting an easy overview over my findings in a timely manner which future technical developments might enable. I also imagine a “social ambiance” feature that would organize the coffee shop according to kind of social ambiance, however without favorizing the intense over the quiet. Staying fair to my conclusion, coffee houses have served different needs for specific public ‘free’ spaced at different points in history and thus lived up to the needs of society by providing multiple forms of social public spaces in which people can gather and be liberated from hierarchies and structures of the world outside.