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Maps as a Window into New York City’s History

Posted by on Apr 20, 2014 in digital maps, maps | 0 comments

Maps as a Window into New York City’s History

It’s easy to consider maps only as a present-day navigation tool, but they can also be a key to the past. If you live in, travel to, or have roots in, New York City, you’ll want to know about an enormous collection of NYC maps recently released by the New York Public Library as free, high-res, digital downloads.

This map treasure trove includes 1000+ maps of NYC spanning the 17th – 20th centuries, “which detail transportation, vice, real estate development, urban renewal, industrial development and pollution, and political geography, among many, many other things.”

A recent article by Aaron Reiss in The New Yorker, explains how this newly public archive can give curious map aficionados a period-specific view of various sections of the city.

For directionally challenged map-phobes (like you?) here’s a chance to allow your inner historian to emerge and to practice your map-reading skills while digging into the past.

If you’re directionally challenged you need the award-winning book, Directional Sense: How to Find Your Way Around, by Janet R. Carpman and Myron A. Grant.



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