I got a pocket full of dreams
June 20, 2017 8:51 AM   Subscribe

The New York Public Library is creating a "digital time-travel service for New York City with historical maps, collections rich in geospatial data, and the public's help." Meet the NYC Space/Time Directory, a searchable atlas of New York City's past, which includes an interactive, digitized collection of maps and photographs dating back to the mid-19th century. Space/Time comes from NYPL Labs' ongoing Remix project, previously highlighted on MeFi in Room 641-A's post, "We're gonna need a bigger hard drive."

How to use
Select a decade between 1850 and 1949, and overlay archived maps on a contemporary grid of the city. "The result is something that's truly beautiful: a side-by-side comparison that reveals how a neighborhood was once laid out, and how it evolved into its current state."

NYPL online remixes, Space/Time examples and other projects include:
* Scroll NYC
* Historical Maps in Minecraft
* Mansion Maniac: a maze-building game for exploring mansion floor plans from early 20th century New York City.
* Staten Island Historical Newspapers
* Stereogranimator: (Warning: This link contains rapidly flashing images.) Create and share 3D images from the stereograph collections of The New York Public Library (and others). (Previously highlighted on Mefi by Horace Rumpole in "A moving experience")
* Street View, Then & Now: New York City's Fifth Avenue
* The Photographers’ Identities Catalog (PIC) is an "experimental interface to a collection of biographical data describing photographers, studios, manufacturers, and others involved in the production of photographic images."

Help NYPL Labs!
* Transcript Editor: Help The New York Public Library fix computer-generated transcripts from hundreds of stories from the library's Community Oral History Project.
* Building Inspector
* Map Warper: a tool for digitally aligning ("rectifying") historical maps from the NYPL's collections to match today's precise maps. Visitors can browse already rectified maps or assist the NYPL by aligning a map. (Previously on MeFi)

Bonus Content
In an effort to preserve New York City's past, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated thousands of properties, parks, buildings and neighborhoods as historic landmarks throughout the five boroughs since its creation in 1965. Information on all 33,000 is available through this searchable map, which divides them into categories: Interior, Scenic and Individual, as well as Historic Districts.

Interactive Map of Manhattan
The Smithsonian website has an interactive map from 1836, overlayed on an image of modern Manhattan. (Click and drag the map and viewfinder.) The heavily shaded areas represent the most densely populated portions of the city at the time of the map’s drawing. Much of what is considered Manhattan today wasn’t yet settled.

Of note: Central Park is missing. It wasn't established until established in 1857 on 778 acres of city-owned land. (It would be expanded north to its current size of 843 acres in 1873. (Wikipedia has more.) Before it was transformed into the most-visited park in the United States, the land was a swamp smack in the middle of Manhattan island.

This map was previously highlighted in a MeFi Post by MoonOrb: American Cities: Before and After

Avenue of the Idealists: A Walking Tour of 42nd Street
New York Magazine examines the history of Manhattan's iconic 42nd Street.
posted by zarq (3 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Another good example of the digital humanities' "cartographic turn".
posted by doctornemo at 10:34 AM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Pretty amazed by what Bert Spaan seems to have achieved as the Space/Time project's sole developer. Check out the GitHub repositories: https://github.com/nypl-spacetime
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 3:43 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

As the web administrator/developer for my local public library, I really admire NYPL's work. Where do I start?

The items in their digital collections are also presented beautifully - example, one of these maps. The work is shared at multiple resolutions, the image itself is at center and the focus; links to similar images on the bottom.

The search results are relevant and have filtered on the left side.

posted by fizzix at 4:17 PM on June 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

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