This map, created by cartoonist Dorothy Gambrell and posted on her blog, Very Small Array, shows New York City shaded according to the median number of violation points the restaurants in each zip code were awarded by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with green being the cleanest and red indicating a disturbing level of filth.
To give you some context, the city's guidelines state that:
A public health hazard, such as failing to keep food at the right temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria, triggers a minimum of 7 points. A critical violation, such as the presence of rodents, carries a minimum of 5 points. A general violation, such as not properly sanitizing cooking utensils, is assigned at least 2 points.
This knowledge is almost enough to make me want to forsake Tribeca's restaurants in favor of a nice meal in Staten Island or John F. Kennedy International. (But not quite.)
In fact, last summer New York followed in Los Angeles' footsteps, forcing restaurants to display their inspection results in the form of letter grades. After the initiation of the ABC system in Los Angeles in 1998, food-borne hospitalizations in the city dropped 18.6 percent in the first year (the rest of the state had a decline of 1.2 percent). So perhaps this is one map of New York City that will become more green over time?