Mapping markers of distance and existence in immigrant literature of New York City.

About the project

This project was started through the Mellon Public Humanities Fellowship through CUNY Hunter College. The intention is to acknowledge the interstitial spaces that immigrants so often find themselves within. Through the framing of these in-between places in immigrant literature, the hope is to highlight the unity developed in a shared experience of distance.

The immigrant identity presents migration as an endless movement of the individual within their surroundings. This identity is not continuous or unidirectional—it is interrupted. These in-between elements are what immigrant experiences in New York have in common.

Each new marker on the map created here provides a new perspective of immigrant experience as well as immigrant history. Every immigrant work added to the bookshelf further develops the immigrant canon of NYC. With these things together a larger narrative is established according to the immigrant voices in New York City, making space for a new understanding of not only immigrants in the city but the experience of new languages and places.

Initially this project focused on literature written by immigrants born outside of the United States, but by expanding the canon to children of immigrants the amount of literature grows wildly. Through this expansion of the immigrant bookshelf the project is able to acknowledge this pattern and see the development of immigrant communities over time.

This website is simple on purpose, in hopes of being easy to access and navigate. It is through interaction with, and additions to, this website that the map can develop and the bookshelf can flourish. The current listings and markers already made are a tiny fraction of the larger immigrant narrative. As well, there will never be too many supportive links for immigrants and readers. If there is ever anything you would like to add please submit to the page or alternatively email

Thank you to all supporters of and contributors to this project, as well as to everyone who has endured me thus far.
Always, Mecaria Baker