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