“Manhatta” Before It All

Before learning about New York City architecture we should really get to know about our cities’ origin. Picturing the city before it became well developed should be an important factor in the way we view our surroundings. Eric Sanderson’s talk of “New York — before the City,” best portrays this idea.

Eric Sanderson’s talk on the development of Manhattan’s landscape ecology is an essential core that students should view when they start to learn about the city and it’s architecture. This video shows almost everything on how the land of Manhattan changed throughout a course of years. Sanderson gives an interesting speech on his theory of where exactly species of early NYC and the Native American’s, the first settlers of this country, resided. According to his talk the city not only was partially made up of landfill but also consisted of wetlands. Its surprising to know that famous Time Square was a wetland; which was the main source of fresh water for the early habitats of NYC.

Sanderson reveals many facts about Manhattan from his study called “Manhatta.” After a long time of research, when I came across this video, I thought it was the best thing students should see when they are introduced to a history of NYC architecture. Upon coming across a map made by the the British military during the American Revolution, Sanderson was able to slowly strip each layer of Manhattan to its original form. From the grid system of manhattan to slow developments and then to just one forest land. It gives an overview of how the land was once a forest full of wetlands, then shortly after Dutch settlements, it became a civilization.

There was one really important fact I learned from this video is that habitat plays a great role in any kind of construction. Habitats consist of: food, water, reproductive sources, and most importantly shelter.

After seeing this video, I was better able to understand Manhattan’s development along with the verbal lectures in class.

I suggest watching the first ten minutes of this video to get the grasp of what’s most important. However, the entire video is very interesting in terms of gaining knowledge.


Eric Sanderson pictures New York — before the City

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One Response to “Manhatta” Before It All

  1. Susan Mani says:

    It is an interesting video about New York City, I like the way he starts from Mannahatta and goes in deep in Manhattan. I’ve got excited when I heard that New York City is the first mega city. The video is full of new information about the city.

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