The Historical Atlas of New York City, Second Edition A Visual Celebration of 400 Years of New York City's History

Eric Homberger; Alice Hudson, Cartographic Consultant

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

192 Pages



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First published in 1994 to observe the one-hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of New York City's five boroughs, this thorough and attractive volume offers a visual cornucopia of full-color maps, charts, photographs, and drawings covering some four hundred years of the city's history.

The Historical Atlas of New York City takes us, neighborhood by neighborhood, all across the strata of time and geography to detail such crucial events as the city's initial settlement of 270 people in thirty log houses; John Jacob Astor's meteoric rise from humble fur trader to the richest, most powerful man in the city; Frederick Law Olmsted's brilliant design for Central Park; and the fascinating ethnic mixture that is modern Queens. This encyclopedic volume also traces the historical development and cultural relevance of such iconic New York thoroughfares as Fifth Avenue, Wall Street, Park Avenue, Broadway, and so forth.

Ideally suited for all historians and students of the Big Apple, The Historical Atlas of New York City is the definitive historical guide to America's first city.


Praise for The Historical Atlas of New York City, Second Edition

"A treasure of a book. The historical notes are sharp, full, and often surprising. The graphics are fresh, colorful, and give one a new sense of New York, the world city in its everlasting drama."—Alfred Kazin

"A beautifully produced reference work . . . Here, in maps, drawings, photographs, and illuminating text, are the five little boroughs and how they grew."—E. L. Doctorow

"[This Atlas] may be as close to a printed CD-ROM as paper can get; it is a triumph of graphics, with text, maps, and photographs sharing space in a variety of colors, typefaces, and layouts. These brilliant displays are built around Mr. Homberger's history of the city from precolonial days to the [recent] 42nd Street renewal."—Richard F. Shephard, The New York Times Book Review

"A much-needed addition to our urban iconography."—Louis Auchincloss

"The rich selection of maps, drawings, and charts offers a startling new perspective on the growth of New York and makes this history as vivid and engaging as a walk through the streets."—Elizabeth Hawes, author of New York, New York

"Eagerly awaited by both scholars and the general public, The Historical Atlas of New York City is the first such volume to appear in the twentieth century. Beautifully illustrated and cogently written, it will offer pleasure and instruction to readers for years to come."—Kenneth T. Jackson, Barzun Professor of History and Social Sciences, Columbia University, and editor-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of New York City

"[An] encyclopedic overview of the history of New York City. Homberger details the growth and development of the Big Apple from earliest times, with attention to geological formation, pre-Colonial settlement, and transformation to first city of the young republic. Detailed color maps abound, accompanied by a running commentary of major historical and cultural eras. Many of the most detailed maps are rendered schematically for easier reading. Each period treated features historical photos and illustrations along with accompanying map(s). Some of the best-known aspects of the city, e.g., the UN, Rockefeller Center, receive individual treatment, as do neighborhoods such as Harlem, Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, and Chinatown. Two fascinating illustrations are stylized diagrams of Broadway, the longest street in the city, and Fifth Avenue, arguably the city's main street. A detailed, illustrated chronology of important events in the city's history concludes the volume. A visual delight; highly recommended for all libraries."—Edward B. Cone, New York City, Library Journal

"This atlas surveys the history of New York City in more than 50 double-page spreads combining a map with brief text, illustrations, and other graphics. Each spread focuses on a particular theme such as 'Stuyvesant's City,' 'From Iron Age to Skyscraper,' 'Broadway,' and 'Latest Arrivals' (the new immigrants). Each of the seven chapters into which the atlas is divided covers a particular historical period and is introduced by a brief illustrated overview of the period. An illustrated chronology follows the atlas proper, providing a conspectus of the city's history. Other supplementary features at the back include a section of short biographies of more than 50 outstanding individuals associated with the city, a bibliography keyed to the chapters, and a page with two lists: 'New York in American Literature' (a book list) and a selective listing of museums. An informative and visually attractive introduction to the history of the city . . . Many fascinating aspects of the rich history of the city are explored in the atlas: its geology, Harlem, Central Park, the rise of the great department stores, the subway, and public housing, to mention a few."—Booklist

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The southern tip of Manhattan, with the settlements along the Hudson (left) and the East River, as seen from a ship in the harbor. The large buildings on the left were...

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  • Eric Homberger; Alice Hudson, Cartographic Consultant

  • Eric Homberger received his doctorate in American studies from Cambridge University and is reader in American studies at the University of East Anglia.

    Alice Hudson is curator of the Map Division of the New York Public Library.