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Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  30 reviews
A guided tour of the physical Internet, as seen on, above, and below the city s streets What do....
Published August 16th 2016 by Melville House
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Deane Barker
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an extremely short book (like, 100 small pages with lots and lots of pictures). Start to finish, it might take you 30 minutes.

It's more of a handbook of the different physical markers you can find of the internet in NYC. It has a directory of manhole covers, for instance, and descriptions of what different pavement markings mean.

There's some neat trivia here, but if you're looking for more specifics about how internet infrastructure works, you're probably looking for "Tubes."
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A short read to gear up before looking at The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff, and a truly fascinating look at the many layers of infrastructure that occupy the actual space of our cities to make the internet possible. I hope Burrington gets to expand on some of the hinted at histories in this book, but regardless of what is next for the author I am looking forward to seeing what they do.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mind-blowing. Ready to dedicate multiple weekends to wandering the streets of NYC looking for all of the artifacts in this book.
Artur Coelho
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Um livro curioso, que olha para elementos da paisagem urbana que estão expressamente concebidos para passarem despercebidos. O foco está nos indícios físicos das redes digitais, imperceptíveis ao olhar dos transeuntes mas legíveis para quem conhece os seus códigos linguísticos específicos. Passa por edifícios cuja única função é albergar e interligar infraestruturas de rede, pela taxonomia das caixas que albergam desde antenas wifi a câmaras de video-vigilância e sistemas pouco conhecidos de vig ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb! An excellent field guide for urban exploring, everyday noticing, and then crying (because surveillance). I love the three-part format of the book: how to spot clues to urban network infrastructure underground, at surface level, and overhead. It calls back to 19th-century depictions of cities as layered networks/spaces, from Victor Hugo describing Paris from above (in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) and below (in Les Misérables), to street-and-sewer cutaway views in etchings of London and Pa ...more
Dan Brian
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Networks of New York is a simple guide to New York's network infrastructure and how to identify much of it from the street level. Burrington's writing is entertaining and the content is well researched. But what's real eye opening is the book's guide to identifying municipal surveillance equipment and how much of it is on the streets of New York City. Even if you don't live in NYC, most of the information is still applicable to many U.S. cities and towns.

A fun read for infrastructure nerds and t
Sam DiBella
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Technology researcher and artist Burrington reveals communications infrastructure in this debut handbook to spotting and categorizing New York City’s cables, cameras, and carrier hotels.

In this guide, Burrington addresses the question “What does the internet actually look like and where can I find it?” For her, the answer is the hardware that we use to transmit information rather than programming and connection protocols. But Networks of New York is not an enormous expository tome. It’s meant to
Alexander Smith
Although, as far as a "street view" of the Internet and it's peripherals go, this is a nice introduction to the IoT of surveillance from the perspective of a major metro city, and the capital and maintenance involved. That said, it falls short in a few ways.

1. By "illustrated" what is meant is that quick pencil sketches were done more of the reminiscent aesthetic of witness illustrations. It is not clear to me why pictures weren't used, or at least more realistic renderings. Some of the pictures
(3.5/5) Networks of New York is a short, illustrated primer to the various pieces of hardware and infrastructure that literally make up the Internet. A quick-and-easy read, it gives you a preliminary breakdown of how those cats from YouTube make it to your phone.

I’ve always had a bit of a weird interest in Internet infrastructure, so this wasn’t entirely new material to me, though it was presented really well. Probably my favorite part of the book is Burrington’s guide to the spray-painted stree
Julien L
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Real short book alert. Read as an e-book since to my knowledge no physical copies exist.

It's exactly what its title describes - an illustrated field guide to urban internet intrastructure - and it's cool as shit because it teaches you to recognize certain situations, symbols, and markers all around you that tie back to the internet. In essence, it's mapping the internet onto the tangible plane.

However, despite being excellent as a field guide, it's also more. It's got neat history lessons of ca
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Received this book a while ago when I started working at Pilot.

This is a quick and dirty explanation of the underground infrastructure in New York. Unfortunately, with a topic so historic and loaded in politics and history, there is only so much one can cover without writing a textbook.

This book does cover important telecom landmarks, however I believe that readers should also be educated in landmark historical events, a few quick ones are: Verizon's botched fios rollout, superstorm Sandy's imp
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ahh this was so good. Fun (and horrifying, at times) to see all the bits of internet infrastructure the author discovered.
But... this book doesn't really give a ton of background about what the internet "is" and how all the pieces she explores relate to each other or to using the internet. If you don't have much networking/technical background, it's probably a little opaque.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish this book was longer but at the same time this was the perfect amount of information to make me just curious enough to go out and search for more details. If you are interested in technology, this book is a great primer on the internet, though it is limited to just speaking about New York.
Matt Blair
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comms infrastructure and public space nerds alike will love this book. It's an engaging and frequently funny look at public and private networks, and at the many social, cultural and commercial issues that are bound up in them. Well worth your time. ...more
D Schmudde
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Succinct and informative. The author does a great job at giving an overview of internet infrastructure visible to the everyday walker. She doesn't digress nor attempt to dig deeply into any one topic or history, but provides enough context to make each artifact meaningful. ...more
Bill O'Neill
Sep 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Hardcover" is a gross exaggeration. It was actually heavy card stock.

"decodes spray-painted sidewalk markings" just means that the author explained that an orange arrow labeled "ATT" means that an AT&T cable is buried beneath the markings.
Scott Middleton
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great illustrations, great job explaining all those weird little objects and signs you see from the street but don’t quite understand.
Well I will definitely be removing my EZpass device from my car's windshield and placing it in the RFID protection bag, when driving around NYC from now on! ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
a fun book which created a fun obsession for a while
Sonny Li
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
new york hacker pokedex
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
More of a who's who in NYC networking and a survey of the physical signs of Network infrastructure. ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology
It was a _very_ short intro to the infrastructure of wireless, wired, surveillance, etc., networks in New York City. I lol'd a few times as there are some pretty funny parts. It's more of a reference book or starting point for further research. "_Networks of New York_ is a guide for practicing the everyday magic of seeing the Internet as part of a city's landscape and everyday life."
It had some great info on the big data centers in the city and the weird "dislocation" when walking around Chelsea
Patrick DiJusto
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Fascinating book about the internet infrastructure of New York City
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
As others have mentioned, this book is very short, and meant to be used mostly as a field guide. For that, it serves its purpose. If you are walking around New York and want to know what the various markings mean and how to spot surveillance infrastructure, this book can help you.

However there are many moments where the author briefly mentions something - the various mergers and acquisitions of Telcos, crude anticompetitive practices like leaving dead copper cables to physically prevent other c
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Short, but an excellent read that opens the reader up to the entire parallel ecosystem of network infrastructure in NYC. With its pencil drawn field diagrams, 3-dimensional maps, far-reaching corporate acquisition history and sly pop-culture references, Networks of NY accentuates your understanding of the city and your part in its working.
Miae Kim
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
I brought this during ny trip to read in a subway, and it worked. It was easy to read, and it didn't take a long time to finish it. It was fun to spot the point like spray mark or manhole

Most of book the is about the history of merging company and how much the contract was the government made
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in learning about infrastructure, specifically internet infrastructure, be it in NYC or anyplace, you'll find this book/guide informative and pretty entertaining. Highly recommend. ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
(rating the pre-revised version)
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