1868 Knapp Map of Northern Manhattan ( New York City ): Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood
Description: An rare and unusual map of upper Manhattan, New York City, prepared and printed for inclusion in the Thirteenth Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of the Central Park. Depicts the Island of Manhattan north of 155th street including the districts of Inwood, Harlem, and Washington Heights. The plan for much of Manhattan, south of 155th street, was originally laid out by John Randel in his 1811 Map of the City of New York or as it is otherwise known the “Comissioner’s Plan”. This ambitions project transformed nearly 12,000 acres of wilderness into a massive urban grid. Nonetheless, by 1860, New York City’s development had exceeded even Randel’s expectations. The Central Park Commission was granted the responsibility of laying out the street system and public areas of the undeveloped parts of Manhattan northward of 155th street. Consequently the 13th Annual Commissioner’s Report included this map which offers considerable detail regarding proposed street layouts, waterways, and public areas, both proposed and developed. Also depicts the suggested bulkhead development extending the shoreline along both the eastern and western parts of Manhattan Island. When this map was made much of this region remained undeveloped farmland and semi-suburban properties, as is reflected by some of the topography and buildings indicated, especially in the western part of the city. Numerous individual buildings are sketched in if not specifically described. Also apparent is the newly developed 11th Avenue, a critical artery connecting lower Manhattan with the Harlem and Hudson waterways in the northern part of the city. A rare and important map regarding the development of modern New York City.
References: Haskell, Daniel Card (ed.), Manhattan Maps; A Co-operative List, New York: The New York Public Library, 1931.
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