“The land is the finest for cultivation that I ever in my life set foot upon. Were our own industrious farmers to settle here, they would soon transform this wilderness into a Paradise where no man need ever go hungry….Never have I beheld such a rich and pleasant land”– Henry Hudson, 1609
Ask a New Yorker to talk about their city today: they will respond by saying it is the greatest city, most important city, the city that the world revolves around. Millions of people call the New York City area their home, millions more visit to capture the magical aura of being in the center of the universe. But long before skyscrapers dominated an island off of the coast of New Jersey called Manhattan, long before the bright lights of Times Square, the countless hits on Broadway, the ringing of the bell on Wall Street, the streams of immigrants passing by the Statue of Liberty and through Ellis Island, was a pristine land inhabited by the native Lenapes. From the day Europeans landed on the New York Harbor, one of the largest natural harbors on Earth, and colonized the land surrounding it, the development of New York City has been inexplicably intertwined with the way New Yorkers got from place to place. This website aims to discover just how a small settlement set on the southern tip of Manhattan evolved into the packed, populous, preeminent megacity on Earth, as its financial, cultural, and political capital.
Top: an animated GIF created by Appealing Industries, shows each subway line in the order it was built
Welcome to the Evolution of NYC