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The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of Nearly 400 Years of New York City's History
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The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of Nearly 400 Years of New York City's History

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  302 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
A New York Public Library Outstanding Reference Book

A visual celebration of nearly 400 years of New York City's history.

To celebrate the one-hundredth anniversay of Greater New York, what Alfred Kazin calls "a treasure of a book" is now a gorgeous paperback. The New York Times Book Review raved that The Historical Atlas of New York City "may be as close to a printed CD-ROM
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 15th 1998 by Holt Paperbacks (first published July 1st 1994)
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Delilah Marvelle
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had a lot of interesting history but sometimes didn't go into more detail like I would have liked.
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Beautiful and informative.
Ben Sweezy
I know that I'm not a good book reviewer. I wish I knew how to express what it is that this book does not do in visualizing various historical information about NYC that I want it to do. Sigh.

Its text is very uninspired, to say the least.

The maps look good, they just aren't telling compelling stories. Maybe the problem is that they don't tell stories at all, rather leaning on the text to tell the story while the maps just represent some attribute topically related without being explanatory. Sigh
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding and it offers enough insight so that you can continue to read about more specific aspects that interest any reader.
It's probably an overstatement to say I was bitterly disappointed in this book, but I can't really think of any other way to describe my feelings while reading it. Urban history and development is one of my favorite topics (and I'm much more invested in it than my sister is, just FYI), and nothing is better than the history of New York City. I came back from a trip to New York earlier this year craving more information, and was thrilled to find this at the library. just wasn't good. It ...more
This is a rather dry and brief treatment of NYC's centuries-long history. Each topic receives about two pages, and oftentimes there will be sections that felt as if they were shoehorned in, like, "Oh yeah, put that in too." Honestly as it got closer to modern times I just skimmed through because it just wasn't that interesting and that is saying something because I always find anything about New York City history interesting.

There are a lot of typos in this edition; the one I most clearly rememb
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have visited New York city often over the years and yet after reading this atlas cover to cover and studying the maps and photographs, I have a better internal map and appreciate the city as never before. New York may be ever changing and modernizing and yet its history is all around if one knows how to find it in its streets, buildings and neighborhoods. [For example, Delancy was a British-sympathizing family who owned a large farm in lower Manhattan, whose memory is now preserved in the stre ...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If you look at the street patterns of cities, you can often see how the city grew over time. There's a distinctive pattern to unplanned city growth, almost identical to the cracking of the glass shell on ceramics as it contracts. That corresponds to the traditional era. There was a period of rectangular grids, clearly a metaphor for modernism. Today we see the plant-like branching of cul-de-sacs, the post-modern antithesis of modernism, where the ideal would be to have no through streets at all. ...more
I'm having trouble with this book. It seems disjointed and out-of-sequence, jumping around in time and not really giving any subject a full treatment. The pictures & drawings often do not match the text of that page. Very hard to follow, and sometimes the text is downright Wrong. (G.Washington is not on horseback in front of Federal Hall, I assure you, unless it's a very *tiny* horse.) Some of the maps can be hard to decipher. And Homberger seems to be obsessed with Rudy Giulianni. It's a li ...more
Lisa Murphy
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New York is a CRAZY town, and apparently always has been! A wonderful, brief, well illustrated summary of how New York grew from a hilly island inhabited by Huron and Iroquois, to a modern city. Full of riots, fires, invasions, immigrants, political battles, and class struggles. Not nearly as complete as Gotham; A History of New York City to 1898 (Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace), but chuck full of maps, etchings, and photos. I read it with the goal of setting a novel in New York in the 1800’s ...more
Bill Ardis
May 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The third book I've just read on NYC, all historical. This book would actually have made a nice companion to Gotham (a really good history of NYC I read a few years ago). For the most part this is a good, brief history, but it has some gaps. An entry on music in NYC would have been nice, with a map of clubs in Harlem as well as on of 52nd Street. Also, practically no mention of Penn Station or the tunnels that connected Manhattan. Finally, the section on NY sports left a lot to be desired, barel ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have had the good fortune to study humanities, architecture, cartography, or early United States history, you will enjoy owning, reading and referencing this fascinating book. As I live in close proximity to New York City, that geographical circumstance affords me the opportunity to make frequent trips to Manhattan. This historical atlas will now have a permanent place in my backpack, and accompany me during all my future excursions to The Big Apple, as it is a unique compilation of Noo Y ...more
Kevin Lawrence
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyc
This book provides some convenient visuals and breaks down the history of New York City into very digestible nuggets, but I think most readers will be left wanting a lot more information than is actually provided. I finished reading this very quickly and hope its intended audience is middle-school students brushing up on local/national history -- it's not really the most sophisticated writing and it has a very canned way of presenting visuals that I associate with textbooks.
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read -- I learned a great deal about the history of this marvelous city. I didn't realize the history of many of the places I like to visit when I'm in New York ... Edgar Allan Poe lived not far from Hudson Square, for example. My great grandfather may have been a construction worker on the Singer Building. A great read.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-s-history
A slimmer volume than I expected, but it is a great introductory history of NYC. Especially the development of the city grid. Borrowed this from the library and I've encouraged my young teen sons to read it.
Maria Perez de Arrilucea
Lleno de fotografías, dibujos e infografías, este libro explica con brevedad, pero de forma comprensible y muy visual, los capítulos más importantes de la historia de Nueva York. En mi opinión, están mejor contados los orígenes que la época actual.
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not the best written book but I like how it's broken down into multiple topics - each two pages - so it's easy to read the book in short sittings.
Jan 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Very informative in tracing the roots of neighborhoods/cultures in NYC and how they arrived in those areas.
Harmony Ingraham
Aug 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Pretty good history of New York City, a bit dry at times and would have liked more photographs, but overall I liked it.
Just A. Bean
I could probably do with more text, and the way it's divided up felt a little counter intuitive at times, but the maps and illustrations are really fantastic.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book, loved the graphics and the information. Bought this when I went to NYC in September 2012, highly recommend it for anyone interested in the city's history.
Elizabeth Finnegan
I have had this book for a long time but didn't get around to reading until recently. The early years are better than the more recent stuff.
Sep 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Numerous typographical inaccuracies, in text and in graphics, make this book less useful than it could be.
Robert Glenn
rated it it was amazing
Aug 08, 2014
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Matthew Cooper
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Mar 04, 2017
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Jan 27, 2009
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Dec 05, 2014
Maryann Macdonald
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Jan 28, 2013
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Eric Homberger is professor of American studies at the University of East Anglia.
More about Eric Homberger...