Get us in your inbox

Search
nyc
Photograph: Shutterstock

You can now search through 1,500 fascinating historical maps of NYC

An online collection of 450 years of NYC history has been released.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Advertising

You can now search maps from across 450 years of New York City history thanks to the Brooklyn Public Library Center for Brooklyn History, which just launched an online portal you can easily access for free, according to 6sqft.com

BPL's Center for Brooklyn History opened its maps collection last Thursday with about 1,500 maps of NYC and surrounding areas that have been digitized.

You can search for maps of Brooklyn neighborhoods, land use and development maps, leisure and natural environment maps, subway maps, and even maps of Queens neighborhoods from Astoria to Flushing — all dating from 1562 to 2015. 

Digitizing all these maps took about two and a half years, 6sqft says. 

"Our goal was to create a portal that will be used by the full range of people," Maggie Schreiner, the manager of archives and special collections at the former Brooklyn Historical Society, told the site. "It’s a tool for those doing academic research, but also a place for those curious about their streets and neighborhoods. Anyone can visit and take a journey."

Here are some highlights:

Bernard Ratzer’s 1770 Plan of the City of New York in North America

1770 nyc map
Photograph: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society

This map is one of only four in existence. It shows Manhattan below what would become 60th Street and Brooklyn north of what would become 30th Street and west of Union Avenue as well as part of Queens and Jersey City.

A very early map of Lower Manhattan from 1808

NYC in 1808 map
Photograph: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society

A very early street map of Manhattan from the Battery to Romaine Street showing wards, street names, wharves and docks.

A map of Brooklyn during the Revolutionary War's Battle of Long Island

NYC in 1808 map
Photograph: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society

This map shows troop movements, camps and forts in Brooklyn south from Greenpoint to the Gowanus Bay and east to approximately modern-day Crown Heights.

A map of the villages of Astoria from 1840

Astoria map 1840
Photograph: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society

This map shows the Astoria area north from Webster Ave. to Poor Bowery Rd. and east from the East River to the Road to Newtown, including buildings, farms, estates and names of landowners.

An original map of Central Park

central park map 1860s
Photograph: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society

This map is an early depiction of the park after it was purchased in 1859 and partially opened to the public in 1858.

A panorama of the "Great Metropolis"

NYC metropolis panorama
Photograph: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society

This map and illustrations show Manhattan from Union Square as well as the Latting Observatory near the Crystal Palace, "the cities" of New York, Brooklyn and Williamsburg.

A map of the subway system from over 100 years ago

old subway map from 1919
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Historical Society

This map shows how to get to Ebbets Field where the Brooklyn Robins (later the Brooklyn Dodgers) played in 1919.

A fun, colorful map of Manhattan from the 1950s

1950s nyc map
Photograph: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society

This fun map uses illustrations to show where hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, stores, tours, churches, bridges, tunnels and other points of interest were located.

Fill out our excellent (and extremely quick) Time Out Index survey right now, and have your voice heard.

Want to know what’s cool in the city? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news

      Advertising