Both landmasses are shaped similarly and get a similarly disproportionate amount of attention compared to the other land masses around it.
Unlike most of Westeros, Essos is much less divided into kingdoms. Rather, there are an assortment of “free cities”, many of which have some pretty obvious similarities to neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens and out in Long Island.
Live on the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, or north of the park? Consider yourself subservient to Robb Stark, King of The North, son of (season one’s hero) Eddard Stark! Sure, geographically it’s a good comparison, but it goes beyond that: Winterfell folks and uptown folks have some similarities. These are regions known for having an older, respectable and responsible population. And if you ask me, they are pretty decent places to start a family, at least as far as Westeros or Manhattan goes. Of course, The North is a big place with some troublesome areas as well, but then again so has Uptown.
Remember The Eyrie? The mountainous fortress where Tyrion Lannister was famously imprisoned by the crazy Lysa Arryn and her breast-suckling son, Robin? Thought you would. Well, what better NYC comparison than Roosevelt Island. Known for its dark history of insane asylums and prisons, this is the perfect neighborhood to be ruled by the Arryn family.
Ok. So it’s not technically New York, but Jersey deserves a spot on this map, and who better to rule it than the ruthless Lord Balon Greyjoy, father of the increasingly irritating Theon Greyjoy. The people of Pyke and Jersey battle similar stereotypes. Both populations are stigmatized as desperately wanting respect (but not getting any) and being annoyingly, yet ineffectively, aggressive (invading Winterfell, raising tolls on bridges, Snooki, etc.). I think Lady Catelyn Stark said it best: “Never trust a Greyjoy”.
Excuse the generalization, but if you’re living in Tribeca you probably think you’re hot sh*t and you probably have a ton of money. If that doesn’t scream Lannister to you, I don’t know what will. Plus, it is only fitting that the most expensive neighborhood in America (according to Forbes) would be ruled by the wealthiest family in all the land. And while SoHo and the West Village don’t have quite the same reputation, they are all pricey enough to be included under Lannister rule.
If you’re living in Midtown, then you are under direct control of the Iron Throne. Midtown was the chosen parallel to The Crownlands do to its commercial dominance and central location. And let’s be honest: if there was a Times Square style NYE ball-drop anywhere in Westeros, it would be at Kings Landing.
House Baratheon is the youngest house by far, and it shows. The late King Robert Baratheon was known for his heavy drinking and wild partying, and his eldest son Stannis, The Stormlands’ current leader, demonstrates his wild side by cheating on his wife with pagan priestesses. This is exactly the sort of debauchery one can expect to find in the LES... if you know where to look, of course.
This kingdom likely won’t make its TV debut until the third or fourth season, but remember when Tyrion shipped Princess Myrcella (daughter of Queen Cersei) off to be married for political gains? Well, Dorne is where she was headed, to be married into the Martell family. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you read the books you’ll know that the people of dorn are ethnically distinct, have different customs, and have a strong sense of “national identity”#. Then add in that it is one of the most southern regions of Westeros, and China Town becomes the obvious comparison. And to be real, it’s only a matter of time before China Town consumes the entire downtown area anyway, so why not plan ahead and include it as part of Dorne now.
While we don’t know much of the Tyrell family yet, their land is known to be fertile and beautiful, with Highgarden ranking amongst the most attractive castles, due in part to its walled-in gardens.# What better parallel than Chelsea? Already one of Manhattan's most lovely neighborhoods, Chelsea’s new Highline walking path seals the deal with its extensive rows of elevated gardens.
The Wall and the region right below it, The Gift, is all that separates the civilized people of Westeros from the wildlings and nightwalkers to the North. Who defends Manhattan from the wildlings out in the suburbs, Connneticut, Boston, and beyond? The Bronx of course!
Lets just say, sh*t gets weird up there.
Ruled by the birth family of Lady Catelyn Stark, this region is known for its central location, expansive fields, and the impressive castle of Riverrun. When searching for a NYC parallel you don’t get more “central” than Central Park, and if you ask me, Columbus Circle would make a pretty impressive castle.
This is the ancestral home of The Targarians, but after the Mad King lost the Royal Throne the island came under Robert Baratheon’s control. The drama of course in the show, is that Robert’s brother Lord Stannis is all pissy that Robert demanded that he rule over Dragonstone while their younger brother, Lord Renly got Storms End in Westros. I for one, don’t blame Stanis for being upset. If I got stuck with Staten Island while my little brother got a nice chunk of Manhatten, I’d be pissy too.
Though it has not appeared in the show yet, this the birthplace of Syrio Forel, the Sword Tutor who instructed Arya Stark in season one and famously said, “The First Sword of Braavos never runs from a fight, no matter how hopeless.” In the books, Braavos is known as a cultural center and economic hub. This, combined with its northwestern geographic location, makes Astoria and adjacent Long Island City a clear parallel.
When Daenerys Targaryen needed advice on how to please her husband, she consulted with her hand maiden, Doreah (born and raised in Lys) who was trained from the age of 9 in the “carnal arts”. Turns out this is not uncommon in Lys, which is known for its pleasure houses. If the burlesque connection wasn’t enough to seal Coney Island and Lys in holy matrimony, it is also worth noting that the Lyseni people have a strong connection with the sea and boast a powerful navy.
Though it is only a pitstop on the Dothraki’s path in Season 1, the books explain that Qohor is famed for its craftsmen and for worshipping a god called The Black Goat.# Bushwick by comparison attracts the most crafty of the crafty. Plus, I could definitely imagine some Bushwickians worshipping a goat just to be alternative and/or ironic.
Norvos isn’t a major player in the series so far, but we know from the books that they are ruled by a band of bearded priests, and I’m pretty sure I saw some bearded priests at Union Pool last weekend, sooo....
Volantis is the birthplace of Talisa Maegyr, Robb Stark’s sexy new squeeze and battlefield surgeon. Ruled by the noble class as a semi-democracy, this city’s culture seems like it would jive nicely with the noble Mommys and Daddys of Park Slope, considering their dominance over the lower ‘Nanny Class’.
In the world of Game of Thrones, if you’re looking for lavish parties, gorgeous beaches, obscene wealth, and maybe to wear some stupid outfits, then you go to Qarth. If that doesn’t sound like a weekend in the Hamptons, I don’t know what will.
Um... needs no explanation?