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Blog Posts by Subject: Geography

Drawing on the Past: Enlivening the Study of Historical Geography at maps.nypl.org

On behalf of The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, the NYPL’s Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship and our partners EntropyFree LLC, I am proud to announce the launch of maps.nypl.org

This new website is a parallel snapshot of all maps currently available on the Digital Gallery as well as a powerful set of tools designed to significantly enhance the way we access and use maps and the cartographic 

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Where Is St. John's?: The Old Burying Ground

St. John's Burying Ground used to occupy the space which is now James J. Walker Park, between Leroy, Hudson and Clarkson Streets. In a sense it still does since the old stones were buried in place and few of the 10,000 occupants were moved. The only stone remaining is one dedicated to three firemen who gave their lives in the line of duty over 150 years ago.

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Allen Ginsberg and the East Village

My tour of the downtown branches of The New York Public Library continues!  After being here for a few years and here for the past few months I am now here for a few days.  All of this traveling has been a wonderful experience as each branch is as varied and interesting as the neighborhoods they serve.   Spring is around the corner and soon I will be ... Read More ›

Local Library Resources on Haiti

The tragic earthquake in Haiti has shaken the emotional core of the entire world. We're all trying to make sense of the upsetting images and heartbreaking stories that have been all over the news since January 12th. This tragedy has sparked an interest for many to explore the history and culture of Haiti. Many titles, for all ages and reading levels, are available if you want to learn more.

Look on the shelves under Dewey number 972.94 for basic country information.

The following resources would be ideal for a middle or high school student starting a research 

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Where Is St. John's?: How Place Names Live On in the West Village

Why was a former railroad freight terminal named for a church? What's odder still is that the terminal was named for a church that had been demolished about 20 years before the terminal was built. And the location of the terminal and the church are not even particularly close. The connection is the railroad.

St. John's Church was built by Trinity Church in 1807 on Varick Street, a couple of blocks south of Canal. It and the private park it faced (also called St. John's) became the center of a fashionable neighborhood.But in 1867, Trinity sold St. John's 

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Where Is St. John's?: Investigating Place Names in Lower Manhattan

Place names stick around even when the source of the name has long disappeared. One name like that in the Hudson Park neighborhood is St. John's.

St. John's still exists in the names St. John's Park, St. John's Lane, and St. John's Center, but St. John's Chapel was demolished almost 100 years ago. Sacrificed for the widening of Varick Street following the construction of the Holland Tunnel, St. John's Chapel was much grander than its name implies.

In future posts I'll write more about St. John's, including its connection to 

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Paris and Provence at Hudson Park

Hudson Park is hosting "Paris and Provence," art by West Village painter Elliott Gilbert, in its Reference Room Gallery through the end of February.

Abbaye de Sénanque

The work includes 15 canvases of Provence and some lesser-known areas of Paris, including Parc Monceau, a favorite place of Monet. One more view after the break.

Come by the library to see the full exhibit. For more information about Elliott Gilbert, go to http://elliottgilbert.com/   Arches of Montfort... Read More ›

Leroy Street 75 Years Ago

Look at all that parking! So few cars! The downside of Leroy Street from 75 years ago is no trees. I'll take the trees and Leroy Street (aka St. Lukes Place) as it is today.

The pictures are great, but the captions also contain illuminating nuggets of information. The top caption talking about the Hudson Park Branch includes:

"The eastern side of the building exactly marks the old eastern boundary of the Trinity Church Farm, which was originally one of the Dutch farms confiscated by the Duke of York, and was deeded in perpetuity to Trinity Church by ... Read More ›

The City of Light Before the Advent of Electricity: New York City Travel Writing, 1600s

Gotham. The Big Apple. The City of Light. Crossroads of the World. And my personal favorite: the City of Superlatives. These are all sobriquets that have been applied to New York City at one time or another.

The city that has insinuated its way into the hearts of so many travelers has inspired an incredible outpouring of travel guides and literature.

Travel writing at its best is half reporting and half myth-creating by the adventurer fortunate to visit an unknown, perhaps exotic destination. These treatises offer a 

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Road Trip

What could be more American than the road trip narrative? From Jack Kerouac to Tom Robbins, Americans have penned accounts both real and fictional about the joys and singular boredom of the open road. The rolling hills and prairies, the breeze wafting in through the window, and the seemingly endless dots of small towns, roadside restaurants and gas stations all stem from a particularly American phenomenon: the Interstate Highway System.

The

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division! Come see Willem Janszoon Blaeu's Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova in person at the fabulous Mapping New York's Shoreline 1609-2009 exhibition, open today and the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving in the Gottesman Exhibition Hall located on the first floor of the

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Charting the Future I

Over the years, as we push more and more of our maps onto the web, such as Pieter Goos' Zee-Atlas, 1672, from which the below image was taken, we ask… ...what do we do with all this stuff? ...how do we make digital maps meaningful?

One approach is through our blog, where we highlight various places and themes depicted. Often there is much more to read between the contours, about, among 

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Mapping New York's Shoreline: The Storied River

Staff of the New York Public Library recently hand picked a set of nearly 500 images, collected from across our Digital Gallery, composing them as a curated set of images at the Commons on Flickr. They represent the Hudson River Valley through several hundred years of history and complement

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Natural Rhythms

The first time I visited Cape Cod, a city boy unaccustomed to the ways of the natural world, I encountered what seemed to me one of the primal mysteries, the secret from which so much else in life sprang. Although I have witnessed this phenomenon again and again over the past twenty or so years, it mystifies me still. During that first trip, my wife and I made an initial foray to the beach on Cape Cod Bay and looked out across the magnificent body of water held in the cup of land stretching from Bourne to Provincetown and marked 

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Hudson's Legacy

No, I'm not referring to Henry Hudson and his quadricentennial of "discovering" Manhattan and the river that's named after him. I'm speaking of Alice Hudson, Chief of the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, who retires this week after a long and glorious career at NYPL. She's someone who impacted many lives, leaving behind a shining legacy that will continue to glow for years.

I'll particularly miss Alice's wry humor. I still chuckle when I recall her telling me that she first wanted to title 

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All You Need Is Love's!

Last weekend I found myself in a truck stop in central PA with a fiendish problem. What to choose?

Louis L'Amour? A volume in an endless fantasy series? Or a grit-filled true-life testosterone-fueled story by a marine or a special-op or a terrorist fighter? Which book could I take to bed? What book could I count on to get me through the night when I found myself awake at 3 am?

This was my biggest book disaster in years. Love's has a bigger selection of ready-to-eat franks, wieners, hot dogs, cheddar wursts, brats, kielbasy, and smoked 

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Village Haunts

After 165 years things are bound to change, even in the Village. Maps are a great way to see that change, and fortunately The New York Public Library has one of the world's great map collections. Here's a map of lower Manhattan when Edgar Allen Poe roamed the Village:For fun, compare it to my Google map:

For a nice stroll around the Village, visit the locations of each of Poe's homes. I suggest that you start at Waverly and Sixth, go down to W. 3rd Street, over to Carmine and end up at James J. Walker Park where there is just 

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Hudson Park and the Center of the Literary Universe

Want to breakfast with Theodore Dreiser? Grab a cup of coffee at Grey Dog Coffee or Out of the Kitchen and mosey on down to 16 St. Lukes Place.

Hey, you’re right across from the Hudson Park Library! And just down the street at 14 and 12 St. Lukes Place are the former homes of Marianne Moore and Sherwood Anderson. They all lived here in the 1920s.

Use this map (I'll 

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Panorama of Richmond, Staten Island

Panorama of Richmond, Staten Island, N.Y. [view from high ground with St. Andrew's Church] (From NYPL Digital Gallery)

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church recently celebrated its 300th anniversary. My mother's family lived nearby when she was young. They later moved, but my grandmother was buried from St. Andrew's, in 1955, I think.

Richmond was the Staten Island County seat until it was later moved to St. George, near the ferry. Richmond is more or less the geographical center of Staten Island.

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Cool in your (zip) code: Car Seat Safety Check

Right here in zip code 10035 you can keep your child safe in your car. Just stop by Chevrolet-Saturn of Harlem on Saturday, April 11 between 11 am and 3 pm for a FREE safety check of your child car seat.

A trained car seat technician will check your seat and demonstrate correct installation. No appointment is necessary. DOT is sponsoring this event is in partnership with Safe Kids New York City and Chevrolet-Saturn of Harlem.

Chevrolet-Saturn of Harlem 2485 Second Avenue (at 

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