Manhattan in Maps 1527-2014

Manhattan in Maps 1527-2014

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Overview

More than 400 years of history unfold in the pages of this lavishly illustrated volume, which presents sixty-five full-color maps of America's oldest major city. This is Manhattan's first atlas of historical maps, gathered from private collections and libraries throughout the world. From Giovanni da Verrazzano's first glimpse of New York Harbor in the sixteenth century to a modern aerial survey of the island, these rare and beautiful maps recount the city's urban and social history.
Each map is accompanied by a fascinating essay that explores its portrait of New York's changing physical and social contours. Examples from the Dutch colonial period reflect the findings of Manhattan's earliest European settlers. New York was the command center for British forces during the Revolution, and wartime maps painstakingly delineate the battleground's streams, swamps, hills, and shoreline. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's original plan for Central Park appears here, along with charts that reveal the development of the Manhattan grid as well as the expansion of ethnic neighborhoods, midtown vice, and the subway system. Each entry cites the map's title, date of creation and publication, cartographer, medium, and the institution or private collection where the map is archived. There is a Foreword by Tony Hiss, a bibliography, and complete index, as well as a new Introduction by Marguerite Holloway, author of The Measure of Manhattan (2013), and an essay by landscape ecologist Eric W. Sanderson, which includes a map by Mr. Sanderson and cartographer Markley Boyer providing a view of Manhattan Island as Henry Hudson might have seen it in 1609.
"Here then is the story of Manhattan as it was, as it is, and even as it might have been. Maps tell the story. All the output of all the journalists who have written about Manhattan does not succeed half as well."—Ted Koppel, former managing editor and anchor, Nightline
"Manhattan in Maps enables us all to look through layers of time and concrete to the ground of life in this city through over three centuries. . . . an invaluable visual guide to New York City history."—Alice C. Hudson, Chief, Map Division, Center for Humanities, The New York Public Library



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486779911
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 10/15/2014
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 715,663
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author


Paul E. Cohen is the author of Mapping the West and the coeditor of American Cities. He is a partner in Cohen & Taliaferro LLC of New York City, dealers in rare books and antique maps.
Robert T. Augustyn is one of the owners of Martayan Lan Fine Antique Maps of New York City. He has written numerous articles and catalogs on the subject of antique maps.
Tony Hiss is the author of many books, most recently, In Motion: The Experience of Travel.
Marguerite Holloway is the author of The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel, Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventor.
Eric W. Sanderson is the author of Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Manhattan in Maps 1527-2014


By Paul E. Cohen, Robert T. Augustyn

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-79941-4



CHAPTER 1

HE LOST FIRST HAP

The Maggiolo Map


Untitled

DATE DEPICTED: 1527 (?)

DATE DRAWN: Original, 1527; facsimile (one sheet of four depicted here), 1905

CARTOGRAPHER: VESCONTE DE MAGGIOLO

Original, Pen and ink and watercolors on vellum, 24 × 71 ¼ inches; facsimile, lithographic print, four sheets 19 × 24 inches each

Harvard Map Collection


Before it was destroyed during World War II, The Maggiolo Map was the earliest map to provide a representation of the New York City area. The island of Manhattan itself would not be depicted on a map until nearly a century later, on Block's Map of the Northeast (see p. 8). Dated 1527, just three years after Verrazano's brief reconnaissance of New York Harbor, this splendid, hand-drawn map of the world was the work of Vesconte de Maggiolo, member of a prominent Genoese family of cartographers. Although produced not long after Verrazano's exploration, Maggiolo's mapping of the east coast of the United States was at some remove fromVerrazano's original data and likely derived from an unknown prototype. There is some question as to what is represented at any particular point on the map; however, the location of New York Harbor can be determined with some certainty: it appears slightly to the west of an island identified as "luisa," which most believe to be Block Island. Shown on the map near what is thought to be New York Harbor are versions of two place-names that Verrazano was known to have applied to the area, "B.S. Margarita" and "Anguileme." The configuration of this area on Maggiolo's map—two bays divided by headlands, with a river emptying into the northernmost of the two—approximates that of the actual harbor. Although produced decades later, the small Gastaldi Map (see p. 4) provides a considerably more precise view of the New York area than the one found here. The Maggiolo map was housed at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan when it was destroyed.


CHAPTER 2

MANHATTAN FOUND AND LOST

The Gastaldi Map


Untitled

CARTOGRAPHER: GIACOMO DI GASTALDI

PUBLISHED: J. B. RAMUSIO, Viaggi, VOL. 3, VENICE, 1556

Woodblock engraving, 10 ½ × 14 ¼ inches

Private collection


We found a very agreeable situation located within two small prominent hills, in the midst of which flowed to the sea a very great river.... The people ... clothed with feathers of birds of various colors, came toward us joyfully, uttering very great exclamations of admiration....

—Verrazano's description of his entry into New York Harbor in 1524.

In April 1524, Giovanni da Verrazano became the first known European to glimpse Manhattan and explore its superb harbor. The best surviving early map to register this momentous episode is Gastaldi's small, seemingly crude work, published over thirty years after the event. The Gastaldi Map provides a better depiction of the New York area than even that found on both the now lost 1527 Maggiolo map (see p. 2) and the 1529 hand-drawn map of the world by Verrazano's brother, Gerolamo, housed in the Vatican Library—the very first existing map on which the New York area is shown. Gastaldi's map was based directly on Verrazano's report of his voyage, which was ignored by most map-makers of the day. The report was, in fact, printed for the first time in the book in which the map itself appeared, although it had circulated earlier in manuscript copies. The map was most likely a sketch drawn from this description, which may account for its crude look. In any case, it effectively reveals that Verrazano carefully observed the general features of New York Harbor. Its two large bays, separated by the Narrows now spanned by the bridge named after Verrazano, and the Hudson River entering from the north all unmistakably appear at the far left on the map. The bays are, however, incorrectly aligned on an east-west rather than a north-south axis. Naturally, there are several other distortions that are to be expected on a map of this period. The size of the New York area is proportionately much too large, perhaps reflective of the emphasis Verrazano placed on it in his report. To the north, an abbreviated Hudson River intersects with the St. Lawrence River, which was discovered by Jacques Carrier about the same time Verrazano found the Hudson. Also, just east of "Port du Refuge" on the map, which most likely designates Buzzards Bay south of Cape Cod, one soon encounters "c breton" (Cape Breton Island) in Nova Scotia, Canada! This contraction of hundreds of miles of coastline is a reminder of just how groping the cartography of the northeast was in the sixteenth century.

Verrazano, a Florentine sailing under the French flag, entered the Lower Bay of New York Harbor in the Dauphine, a hundred-ton, three-masted vessel, which is possibly the ship illustrated at the lower left on the map. Wary of the dangerously shallow water of the Lower Bay (indicated by speckles on the map), Verrazano anchored his ship and approached the shore of Staten Island in longboats, led by welcoming Indians. Although Staten Island is not identifiable on the map, it is presumably indicated by the appearance of the Narrows. The Indians may be depicted as three figures on the map to the right of the New York area; one of them is pointing with his arm. It is believed that Verrazano and his men came ashore in Tompkinsville on Staten Island. From here they proceeded to pass through the Narrows, and then entered what Verrazano described as the "beautiful lake" of the Upper Bay, where Verrazano sighted the Hudson River ("a very great river, which was deep within the mouth"). At this point, he must have also seen Manhattan, but as is apparent from the map, which shows no insular or peninsular land mass, he had no idea it was an island or in any way distinct from the mainland.

Verrazano's exploration was then cut short by a sudden storm, which forced him and his men to return to the Dauphine and quickly sail away. Despite the brevity of his visit, Verrazano came away from the area with at least a glimmer of what its future would hold: he "left the said land," he reflected in his letter, "with much regret because of its commodiousness and beauty, thinking it was not without some properties of value."

The favorable impression the area made on the explorer is further registered in the place-names he applied to it, Angouleme and Santa Margarita (not on the map). As was the case with all the names he used in the course of his voyage, these two relate to the family of his employer, Francis I of France. However, the two chosen for the New York area are of special significance. Angouleme, which was meant to denote the New York area generally, refers to the king's title before ascending the throne; he had been the duke of Angouleme. Santa Margarita, Verrazano's name for the harbor itself, refers to the king's sister, an accomplished author who furthered the Renaissance in France. These place-names, however, were shortlived and disappeared from maps by the end of the sixteenth century.

Despite Verrazano's positive account of the New York region, the area would not be sought out again for eighty-five years. This is all the more remarkable given that Gastaldi's map was relatively accessible in its day. It appeared in a popular work, Ramusio's Viaggi, the first comprehensive collection of exploration accounts relating to the New World, which went through three editions: 1556, 1565, and 1606. There were several factors that contributed to the failure of Europeans to follow up Verrazano's discovery of New York. Although his voyage was a momentous accomplishment—Europeans gained for the first time a sense of the actual size of North America, thereby greatly expanding their conception of the size of the earth—his discovery did not yield the passage to the East Indies, and so his voyage was judged a failure. Moreover, the mineral samples and materials he brought back from the New World proved to be of little worth. Another factor explaining why New York was virtually forgotten after Verrazano's discovery has to do with the difficulties of mapping North America in the sixteenth century. One historian has observed that the Northeast from New York to Massachusetts became a "lost coast." Most sixteenth-century mapmakers simply ignored Verrazano's report of his explorations and instead drew upon the discoveries of Estéban Gomez, a Portuguese who sailed along the eastern seaboard about the same time as Verrazano. Gomez, however, had sailed too far off the coast in the New York to Massachusetts area and missed it altogether. Yet, Gomez's incomplete chart was accepted by most mapmakers because he was sailing on behalf of the Spanish, who were believed to have the most advanced geographic knowledge of the day. In part because Verrazano was employed by the French, the latest entrants in the field of exploration, his broadly accurate mapping of New York and the Northeast went largely ignored.

Although New York and much of the Northeast had simply vanished as far as sixteenth-century Europeans were concerned, a desire for a shorter route to the East did not vanish. Early in the following century, another great navigator, Henry Hudson, also employed by an emerging nation, would try unsuccessfully again to find a water passage through North America. Instead, he would reencounter the unclaimed prize of the "lost coast."

CHAPTER 3

HUDSON REDISCOVERS MANHATTAN

The Velasco Map


Untitled

DATE DEPICTED: 1610

DATE DRAWN: 1610

Pen and ink with watercolor on paper, 31 ½ × 43 5/8 inches

General Archives of Simancas, Spain


A Spanish spy in the court of the English monarch James I produced or obtained The Velasco Map, which is the only surviving, contemporaneous map recording Manhattan and its vicinity as seen by Henry Hudson in 1609. The basis of the map was a confidential document prepared for the king in order to provide a comprehensive picture of English possessions in America based on the most current information. Don Alonso de Velasco, the Spanish ambassador to England, acquired or copied the map and sent it off to his own king with a coded letter explaining its contents. The Spanish were naturally concerned about English colonial activities in North Carolina and Virginia, just to the north of their own North American possessions.

The Velasco Map is especially precious because none of Hudson's original charts or even copies of them have survived. On his return from the New World, Hudson was captured by the English and his charts confiscated, never to be seen again. However, there is little doubt that this map's delineation of the New York area and the Hudson River was based on his lost charts. The journal of Hudson's first mate, Juet, has survived in printed form, and the descriptions there and the details on the map correspond in virtually all particulars.

On the map, versions of Manhattan's present name (Manahatin and Manhatta) appear for the first time. While there would be numerous permutations of the word on early maps, these first instances were the closest to its eventual form. Most believe the word to be a contraction of the Indian words for "island" and "hills" or "island of the hills," which accurately describes Manhattan's originally rugged, glacially formed topography. The other possibility is that Manhattan was derived from the name of the local Indian tribe.

Although the New York area does not appear well-detailed on the map, a closer look reveals a great deal about Hudson's experience there. The generally accurate mapping of the Lower Bay of New York Harbor reflects the seven days spent there by Hudson and his men. He entered the Lower Bay on September 2, 1609, in longboats, having anchored his main vessel, the Halve Maen, (Half Moon) just off Sandy Hook at the entrance of the harbor. It is clear from the map that Hudson also explored to some extent the two small rivers that enter the Lower Bay, the Raritan and the Arthur Kill, which can be seen on the map.

Moving north, the mapping becomes less accurate, although the small islands of the Upper Bay (Liberty, Ellis, and Governors) are roughly indicated, along with a fourth, which may have existed at the time. Hudson clearly did not discern that Manhattan was an island, which may seem a surprising oversight by someone noted to have been a careful explorer. However, Manhattan is actually a kind of peninsular island, barely separated from the mainland at its northern end by a very narrow strait. Therefore, Hudson would have had to sail completely around it to ascertain its insularity. Obviously, he bypassed it in some haste. One reason for his hurry must have been the fatal confrontation with Indians in the Lower Bay, which left one of Hudson's men dead with an arrow through his throat. Hudson did apparently notice both the mouth of the Harlem River at the northern end of Manhattan, which he in fact entered on his return trip, and that of the East River to the south. A close examination of the map reveals two indentations in the approximate locations of the mouths of the two waterways.

Hudson's cursory exploration of Manhattan becomes even more understandable in light of the primary purpose of his voyage. Although an Englishman, Hudson was employed (against the wishes of his king) by a Dutch commercial organization, the Dutch East India Company, which monopolized the lucrative spice and silk trade in the East Indies. The profitability of the trade would be increased if a shorter route to the East Indies could be found. The Dutch had been required to sail west around Europe, then around Africa, and finally across the Indian Ocean to reach the East Indies. Therefore, when Hudson embarked on his voyage from Holland in 1609, his orders were to sail to the northeast over and around Russia and down the Asian mainland in the hope that a shorter route lay in this direction. Shortly into the voyage, his way was blocked by ice, and in defiance of his orders, he turned west and headed for America. His decision was motivated by the same thinking that had impelled most early voyagers to America, including Verrazano: there must be an easy passage somewhere through America leading to the East.

Looking again at the Velasco Map, one can see why Hudson was drawn to the New York area to find this route to the East. It was in the center of the least-detailed, thus least-explored, stretch of the eastern seaboard below Canada, precisely the area that has been called the "lost coast." Although this area had been explored by Verrazano to some extent, it had literally faded from the map and European consciousness by the end of the sixteenth century.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Manhattan in Maps 1527-2014 by Paul E. Cohen, Robert T. Augustyn. Copyright © 2014 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS,
PREFACE,
FOREWORD by Tony Hiss,
INTRODUCTION TO THE DOVER EDITION by Marguerite Holloway,
MANHATTAN AS IT ONCE WAS by Eric W. Sanderson,
DISCOVERING MANHATTAN,
THE LOST FIRST MAP,
MANHATTAN FOUND AND LOST,
HUDSON REDISCOVERS MANHATTAN,
THE DUTCH IN NEW AMSTERDAM,
THE INVENTION OF NEW NETHERLANDS,
EARLY RECONNAISSANCE,
SPREADING THE NEWS OF NEW AMSTERDAM,
METROPOLIS IN EMBRYO,
THE COLONY IN CRISIS,
NEW LISBON,
NEW AMSTERDAMERS IN NEW JERSEY,
THE BRAVE PLACE,
AN ENGLISH COLONY,
THE FALL OF NEW AMSTERDAM,
THE ENGLISH SURVEY THEIR PRIZE,
DUTCH AGAIN,
THE ENGLISH DOMAIN,
CARTOGRAPHIC ILLUSION: FORTRESS NEW YORK,
EXPANSION UNDER ENGLISH RULE,
FROM TOWN TO CITY,
ALL BUT LOST,
A CITIZEN'S MAP,
MAPPING FROM MEMORY,
EARLY PLANNED GROWTH,
CHARTING THE HARBOR,
REVOLUTIONARY WAR BATTLEGROUND,
CLANDESTINE CARTOGRAPHY,
A MILITARY SURVEY BECOMES A MASTERPIECE,
VICTORY IN RETREAT,
CONFLAGRATION,
MANHATTAN'S ORIGINAL TOPOGRAPHY PRESERVED ON PAPER,
DIMINISHED BY WAR,
RECOVERY AND PLANNING,
CAPITAL RECOVERY,
A PRELIMINARY PLAN FOR GROWTH,
FANCIFUL PROJECTION OF THE FUTURE,
THE MODERN CITY GRID,
A BETTER COMPREHENSIVE PLAN,
THE RANDEL SURVEY,
SURVEYING THE WATERFRONT,
GROWTH WITHIN THE GRID,
POSTWAR GROWTH,
FIRE AMID PROSPERITY,
CROTON WATER REACHES THE CITY,
THE OLD JUXTAPOSED WITH THE NEW,
CHARTING THE BAY AND HARBOR WITH ADVANCED METHODS,
REAL-ESTATE INTERESTS DRIVE CARTOGRAPHY,
INSURANCE COMPANY SURVEYS,
CENTRAL PARK,
WATERY FOUNDATIONS TO GROWTH,
THE NATION'S BUSINESS CENTER,
UNITING BROOKLYN AND MANHATTAN,
THE PROMISE OF GREATER NEW YORK CITY,
WORLDS WITHIN THE CITY,
RAPID TRANSIT UNDER GROUND,
THE "RED SCARE",
CITY OF SKYSCRAPERS,
TIMES SQUARE CLEANUP,
AVIATION IN THE SERVICE OF CARTOGRAPHY,
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY,
INDEX,
ILLUSTRATION CREDITS,
ABOUT THE AUTHORS,

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