Mapping New York's Shoreline, 1609-2009: New York Harbor Historic View Flyover

September 24, 2009

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September 2009 marks 400 years since Henry Hudson sailed into New York Harbor and up the Hudson River, almost to what is now Albany, performing detailed reconnaissance of the Hudson Valley region. This video, a Google Earth flyover integrated with historic maps, shows what the New York Harbor area looked like 400 years ago compared to today. It belongs to the exhibition "Mapping New York's Shoreline," on view through June 2010.

This video was produced using cutting-edge mapping technology developed collaboratively by staff of The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division and the Digital Experience Group of The New York Public Library and by Entropy Free LLC. Historical maps, cited below, from NYPL collections have been digitally stretched onto a virtual globe using the toolkit available to the public at The video was scripted using Google Earth Pro and composited using Final Cut Pro.

Nicholas Visscher. Novi Belgii, Novaeque Angliae nec nonpartis Virginiae tabula … [Map of Nieuw Nederland and New England and Also Parts of Virginia …]. Amsterdam, ca. 1655. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, Print Collection, Eno Collection.

G. W. Colton. Map of the Country Thirty Three Miles Around the City of New York. New York, 1873. The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.

Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Inlet, Long Island, New York. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1911. The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.

William Faden. A Chart of the Bar of Sandy Hook.... London, 1784. The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.

I. N. Phelps Stokes. Redraft of the Castello Plan, New Amsterdam in 1660…. Proof sheet for Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498–1909…. New York: R. H. Dodd, 1916. The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.