Google Maps expands its NYC coverage

From images of the Rockaways pre- and post-Sandy to Street View inside Central Park, Google proves just how much it hearts New York.

Hurricane Sandy: Record, Remember, Rebuild

Hurricane Sandy: Record, Remember, Rebuild Photograph: Historypin

At the intersection of photography and cartography is Google Maps, in which anyone can virtually roam street corners and avenues with the click of an arrow. Now you can visit New York past and present from behind your keyboard via three new projects that have gone live today.

In partnership with Central Park Conservancy, Google Maps has published new Street Views (shot on camera-equipped bicycles) that follow the paths and trails of Central Park. Full-circle photography allows you to digitally tour the park, passing by plazas, ponds and pixelated bystanders.

Street View has also been expanded downtown, at the 9/11 Memorial. New photos of the north and south pools allow you walk along the black marble, and even read the names inscribed on the memorial.

Google has also teamed up with Historypin to host a pinboard of images and videos documenting the destruction wrought by Sandy in the New York area. The community-sourced project, titled "Hurricane Sandy: Record, Remember, Rebuild," traces the visual histories of areas impacted by the storm. Clusters of geo-tagged images are scattered across a map of the coast from southern New Jersey up to Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Click on the photos hovering over Far Rockaway, for example, and images from various points in the ’hood’s history will pop up—from a purple-tinted aerial view of the beach in 1974 to the trembling frame of a burned-down home after the hurricane hit in 2012.

With photos dating back to the 1840s, the project is a growing photographic timeline of the places affected by Sandy. Notable contributors like FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have already signed on to post their own photos of damage and repair. The images are rich visual touchstones of an era before the storm, the period of its dark devastation, and its hopeful future of restoration and rebuilding.