Manhattan in Maps: 1527-1995

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9780847820528: Manhattan in Maps: 1527-1995
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"...the city's first atlas of historical maps...destined to have a profound and positive influence on twenty-first-century New York."--from the foreword by Tony Hiss

This lavishly illustrated volume explores New York's urban and social history through rare and beautiful maps of the city produced during the past four hundred years and collected from archives and libraries throughout the world. From a crude woodblock engraving depicting Giovanni da Verrazano's first glimpse of New York Harbor in the sixteenth century to the latest satellite photograph of Manhattan, these important documents offer an unprecedented "avenue to New York's past," as the authors write in their preface-- a fascinating collective portrait of the evolution of America's oldest major city.

Many of the 65 color plates reproduced here have never been published before, and each is accompanied by an engaging essay on the changing physical and social contours of New York as revealed in the map's details and provenance. Opening with a chapter on the discovery of New York Harbor as depicted in sixteenth-century Italian maps, the book explores the bustling Dutch trading outpost of New Amsterdam (the original name for New York), the city as a British colony in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the rise of New York as a port city in the eighteenth century, the Revolutionary War period, and the development of the Manhattan grid, public squares, and parks in the nineteenth century. The city's myriad "worlds within a world" are shown in unusual maps of such diverse subjects as ethnic neighborhoods, midtown vice, and the subway system. Each entry cites the map's date of creation and publication, cartographer, medium, and the institution or private collection where the map is archived. A bibliography and complete index are also included, making this book an indispensable resource for all those interested in New York history, urban history, and antiquarian maps.

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Review:

From crude woodblock engravings depicting 16th-century explorers' first glimpse of New York Harbor to the latest satellite photographs of Manhattan, the rare maps of New York in this book offer a unique look at the city's evolution over the past 400 years. Opening with early Italian and Dutch antiquarian maps, the book charts the development of ethnic neighborhoods and the Manhattan grid in the 19th century, as well as the labyrinthine subway system of the 20th century. Each of the 65 color plates, many never before published, accompanies an essay on the changing metropolis as expressed in the map's details. While the maps are as beautiful and engrossing as any works of art, they also reveal the rich history of New York's urban and social fabric, offering a stunning collective portrait of the world's first modern city.

About the Author:

Paul E. Cohen has been a dealer in antique maps and rare books with the New York firm of Richard B. Arkway, Inc., for the past ten years. He has served as director of the New-York Historical Society Library and worked at Columbia University Libraries. He holds a Ph.D. in American literature from Northwestern University. Robert T. Augustyn is one of the owners of the antique map and rare book firm of Martayan Lan, New York, and has worked in the field for twenty years. Previously, Mr. Augustyn taught English at Rutgers University, Queen's College, and Northeastern University. He received his master's degree from Rutgers in 1975. Both authors have published numerous articles on the subject of antique maps in journals, magazines, and catalogues.

Tony Hiss is a writer and leading expert on the emerging science of place and the environment. He has been on the writing staff of The New Yorker since 1963 and is the author of seven books. Mr. Hiss has also been a consultant to large-scale conservation, preservation, and development projects in New York and California. He is a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, where he is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Taub Urban Research Center.

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