clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

It's Never Been Easier To Visualize New York City Circa 1609

Once upon a time, Manhattan existed as a fertile landscape where wildlife thrived, lush slopes lead to waters rich with fish and amphibians, and sun filtered through trees as tall as buildings. This isn't a fairytale, but the New York City of 1609. For years, the Mannahatta Project has been collecting information about the natural landscape of the area that has given way to New York City. Now, 6sqft reports that the project has just finished a major relaunch. The Welikia Project—or "my good home" in Lenape, the original Native American language of the region—will expand where Mannahatta left off, and eventually come to canvas all of New York City and its surrounding waterways. Warning: the site is totally engrossing and more navigable than ever, so if you don't have some time to spare it might be wise to, er, make some.

The new website lets users click through Manhattan block-by-block—the project will eventually grow to encapsulate the outer boroughs—and compare the landscape, wildlife, and the Lenape's use of the block in 1609 to its use nowadays. The new site also lets users search by address and landmark.

In 1609, the site of the Empire State Building was predominantly covered in Oak-Tulip forest and the probability of coming across a meadow vole or white-footed mouse was high. The grounds were most likely used for hunting and gathering by the Lenape, but it was more likely that the Lenape would hang out where the Javits Center now sits.

Bonus info: Hudson Yards used to be a high salt marsh, the block bounded by Leonard, White, Baxter and Centre streets was mostly covered by a pond, and Stuy Town was a hotspot for the semipalmated plover. Explore some more, right this way.
· Explore Manhattan When It Was Just Forests and Creeks With the 1609 Welikia Map [6sqft]
· Welikia [official]