On September 12, 1609, Henry Hudson first set eyes on the land that would become Manhattan. It's difficult for us to imagine what he saw, but for more than a decade, landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson has been working to do just that. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City is the astounding result of those efforts, reconstructing, in words and images, the wild island that millions of New Yorkers now call home.
By geographically matching an 18th-century map of Manhattan's landscape to the modern cityscape, combing through historical and archaeological records, and applying modern principles of ecology and computer modeling, Sanderson is able to re-create the forests of Times Square, the meadows of Harlem, and the wetlands of downtown. Filled with breathtaking illustrations that show what Manhattan looked like 400 years ago, Mannahatta is a groundbreaking work that gives readers not only a window into the past, but inspiration for green cities and wild places of the future.
"You don't have to be a New Yorker to be enthralled by this book. Highly recommended."
San Francisco Chronicle:
"[A]n exuberantly written and beautifully illustrated exploration of pre-European Gotham."
The New York Times Book Review:
"'Mannahatta' is a cartographical detective tale. . ."
"The fact-intense charts, maps and tables offered in abundance here are fascinating, and even kind of sexy. And the middle of the book, the two-page spread of Mannahatta in all its primeval glory-the visual denouement of a decade's research-feels a little like a centerfold."
"Upon closing the book you feel revved up, at the very least, and are likely to see a way to build a future that is more aligned with what once was than with what can no longer be."