[The Randel Farm Map, Manhattan Borough President's Office]
Are you ready to mentally clock out of work early this Friday afternoon? If yes, then check out the Randel Farm Map online and then call up Google Maps for some side-by-side comparisons. The Randel Farm Map is the creation of John Randel Jr., an early 19th century surveyor who drew the early street grid of Manhattan and superimposed it over the undeveloped topography and farms of New York in the 1800s. An online version of the map, which was stitched together from 92 smaller farm maps in a collaborative effort between the Museum of the City of New York and the Manhattan Borough President's Office, allows readers to see how the streetscape has changed, and which farmer owned the neighborhood where you currently live.
Above is a close-up of Times Square between 1818 and 1820. John J. Astor is a familiar landholder name, but what about Isaac Wright, who also owned a few large parcels nearby. Wright was the fifth president of the City Bank of New York (Citibank) and made his fortune by establishing the first regular shipping line between Liverpool and New York. Is Francis Child a misspelling of Francis Childs, the late-18th Century newspaper publisher? Enjoy.
· Online, Exploring a Manhattan Dotted With Farms [NYT]
· Randel Farm Map [MBPO]
· Brooklyn's Farming Roots [Curbed]