When Venice is too Far Away: A Meditation

Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker, recently published an entertaining piece called “The Anatomy of a Cartoon,” in which he chronicles the inception and development of one of Joe Dator’s iconic drawings. His example depicts a couple sitting in a gondola while stuck in the middle of a classic Manhattan traffic jam.

Naturally, we at Fortuny were excited to discover that this wasn’t the only gondola-related cartoon: the rest of the piece offers a number of delightful illustrations from the archive all featuring the gondola, which is arguably one of the objects most synonymous with Venice.

From the hubbub and traffic of New York City, it’s pretty common for our minds to drift from Third Avenue into the day-to-day of our Venetian co-workers, floating down a canal in a hand-carved gondola.

Riding in a gondola seems to be the perfect trinity of form, function and experience: to travel the city by doing something completely unique to its history, to transport yourself physically, wasting no time underground or in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Sagging, Victorian architecture, pockets of blue sky, and mysterious passageways drift by, with no car horns blowing.

Most importantly, the ride serves as a moment to reflect—about the present, past and future, and about such a mesmerizing city.  This rings true about New York, too, because despite its chaos, there is still a magical buzz present. Taking a second to remember this is something we could all stand to do once in a while.


Cartoon courtesy the New Yorker.