The New York Public Library’s extensive map collection includes a treasure trove of artistically creative cartography. When maps are embellished with pictures, as they have been since mapping began, we receive geographic information in richer, more engaging ways. Illustrated maps of New York are especially effective in offering exuberant and evolving views of a burgeoning metropolis. It seems only right, after all, that such a flourishing city be depicted with all manner of visual flourishes.

This display—guest-curated and written by Katharine Harmon, author of You Are Here – NYC: Mapping the Soul of the City—features a diverse selection of illustrated maps spanning six centuries, from Manhattan’s earliest days as the hub of a new Dutch colony to a lighthearted depiction of the city in the 22nd century. Artistic embellishments include dynamic designs, bold colors, novel perspectives, and cartoon humor. Along with Harmon’s commentary, explore the city’s history and cartography’s most expansive form in these visually striking and content-rich maps of New York City.

For viewing opportunities, consult the hours of the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division. 

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