The Ultimate Bird’s Eye View of Manhattan

Colton's 1836 map of the sparsely populated area around Central Park. The satellite image in the middle shows the location of what was the Croton Aqueduct Receiving Reservoir (the six yellow dots—probably baseball fields). The large building in the lower right of the satellite image is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click to enlarge.
Colton’s 1836 map of the sparsely populated area around Central Park. The satellite image in the middle shows the location of what was the Croton Aqueduct Receiving Reservoir (the six yellow dots—probably baseball fields). The large building in the lower right of the satellite image is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click to enlarge.

Here’s the perfect follow-up to our recent post on bird’s eye view maps of the Croton Aqueduct—an interactive mashup of an 1836 map of Manhattan, georeferenced with satellite images of the city today.1

Using a “spyglass” map viewer you can switch back and forth between the two maps and explore 177 years of growth and change from the tip of the island to Spuyten Duyvil.

The interactive map is a collaboration between the David Rumsey Map Collection (one of the greatest resources of the internet), ESRI's story maps, and the online Smithsonian Magazine. The three organizations have partnered to create “urban history time viewers showing changes in the growth of six American cities.”

Swapping the images we see Manhattan 177 years later, with Colton's 1836 map in the middle.
Swapping the images we see Manhattan 177 years later, with Colton’s 1836 map in the middle Click to enlarge.

Here’s the link to the New York City map:

The Distributing Reservoir at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, now the site of the New York Public Library.
The Distributing Reservoir at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, now the site
of the New York Public Library. Click to enlarge.

Here are links to the other interactive maps:


  1. For information on georeferencing, see this Wikipedia article.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s