Maps of New York City; Cypress’s Adventures and the Physical Distance She Walks (creative)

When I was younger, I watched TV programs immediately coming home from school. A naïve thought I had was that the Disney and Nickelodeon shows I watched were in real-time or that they filmed a new episode every week. How do they get from place to place in that short amount of time? This inquiry has translated over into how I think of time in the context of literature. Another keen interest I had growing up and still do is maps and geography, specifically city and urban planning. These interests led me to create a map of Cypress’s movement throughout New York City. Seeing the physical distance of her walk after the “Vulva Dreams” performance helps us see the amount of time it takes to walk around New York City. She had to have been thinking for a while during that walk. She reached E 72 St from the Bowery (I am assuming the Bowery is the origin because that is where Ovary Studio is located) “before she realized someone was walking with her” (Shange 133). Shange’s intentional references to New York City streets helps us better understand the physical distance between locations. I hope that his map further emphasizes that distance and how Cypress experiences a vast culture. She traverses almost ten miles, watching different sections of Manhattan appear and disappear. I also included two places she lived in the Bowery and the West Village. In the second image, I included the quote from HOW DO SHE DO where the “She” is walking down 125th St with the sunlight beaming. I put the marker where the Apollo Theater is located, which indicates that 125th Street in Harlem is the main drag for that community. The “She” wants everyone to know and see her. This map further demonstrates that Cypress is not in a fictional place or a place that ignores time. She is experiencing the city and it is important to see where she moves. Her walk with Idrina all the way up to 96th Street shows the vastness of New York City and points to why Cypress is changing so much because her senses are overloaded by a culturally rich oasis that is Manhattan.


-What else does the intentional mentioning of streets do for Cypress’s formation into womanhood? Does the physical distance between the locations correlate to personal changes that Cypress has or is it something else?

-What else do we discover in HOW DO SHE DO now knowing that 125th Street is considered the “Main Street” in Harlem?

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