Tuesday, September 15, 2009


September 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson sailing into New York harbor and "discovering" Manhattan for the Dutch.  In preparation for this milestone, ecologist Eric Sanderson, the Wildlife Conservation Society and The Museum of the City of New York have teamed up for and exhibit and book, Mannahatta.

The Mannahatta project documents, with computer renderings created based on years of research, the original state of the island of Manhattan before colonization, commerce and development turned it into perhaps the most manipulated man-made landscape on earth.

The project maps every inch of the island as it would have been: the grass plains of Harlem, the crystal clear pond and streams where Canal Street now runs, the oyster shell strewn white sand beaches along the Hudson River, and the tall beech and oak forests of midtown.

Looking at some of the images in the book and at the exhibit, I am reminded of the landscapes of Cape Cod-- a series of similar ecosystems that have remained somewhat intact.  Imagine if this is what the corner of Canal and Broadway looked liked at some point:
Fun to think about.  Mannahatta is up at the MCNY until October 12.

Images via Archpaper, midpointmeander

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