Martayan Lan, the New York City rare book and map dealer and ABAA member, has announced the opening of an exhibition of New York maps issued over the past four hundred years. The event now underway, will continue to May 31st, 2019 at the firm’s headquarters in the Heron Tower at 70 East 55th Street.
The exhibition opens with a cartographic glimpse of New York, Tierra Nueva, that was printed in Venice in 1548. Next is a map of Norumbega Et Virginia by Wytfliet in 1597. Norumbega you ask? If you visit this exhibition you are there. Third is a Blaeu map of Nova Belgica Et Anglia Nova dated 1635 that shows Manhattan as a triangle. For those approaching New York by boat Martayan Lan’s next offer is “The first printed sea chart of New England and New Netherlands.” The work of R. Dudley and printed in Florence in the mid-17th century, this is a major rarity.
The fifth example is by Danckerts and Visscher. It’s Novi Belgi Novaeque Angiae, dated circa 1690, in original color. Next [No. 6] is Lotter and Jansson-Visscher’s Recens Edita totius Novi Belgii. It was printed at Augsburg, circa 1757 and adds increasing detail to maps of New York and its environs. At No. 7, Van Keulen’s map reflects the increasing need for accurate sea charts, aiding navigation by clarifying distances and landmarks.
No. 8 is a gem; “A South West View of the City of New York.” This image gives us the artist’s understanding of what New York City looked like circa 1730. As would inevitably happen, after discovery, exploration and then habitation, a plan for the New York settlement would be needed and No. 9 is the second iteration of such a plan. No. 10, by Montresor, is also a plan of the city. It’s dated 1775 when the British were first encountering colonial resistance.
No. 11 is Faden’s 1776 plan of New York Island and surrounding areas, with details of an early Revolutionary War battle at Woody Heights on Long Island. It’s a good thing that one battle does not necessarily make a war because, if it had, we in America, would be British subjects still.
No. 12 is De Barres’ 1777 “Sketch of the Operations of his Majesty’s Fleet and Army…” which was part of the navigational atlas used by the British during the war.
No. 13 begins to show us a New York City we can recognize. It’s a rejected first plan  for the City’s streets. No. 14 is Randel’s 1821 blueprint [on silk] of a map of New York. Maps on cloth are a very special niche. No. 15 is a map reflecting the gathering detail of New York. It’s by Poppleton and Hooker and, as was No. 14, on silk.
No. 16 is Burr’s 1839 map of the city of New York. No. 17 is a panorama of Manhattan that dates to 1854. No. 18 is the work of Magnus and dated 1852 that shows in detail the development of New York, Brooklyn and Williamsburg. No. 19 is Bartlett’s illustrated map of New York City . It shows some buildings and provides details that can otherwise be difficult to find.
No 20 is Viele’s Sanitary & Topological Map of the City and Island of New York. It dates to 1865 and shows the gathering need to understand the flow of water under Manhattan. No. 21 is another bird’s eye view. This one is the work of Heine and Dopler in 1851. It will attract attention.
No. 22 is Hyde & Co.’s [Brooklyn, 1898] Map of the City of New York. It is the first to reflect New York City as the consolidation of the five boroughs. No. 23 is the Wanamaker Vest Pocket Subway Guide. Dated 1904, it shows the nascent subway system.
No set of New York maps would be complete without something from Rand McNally. This version, No. 24,, dated 1909, captures the subway routes in high detail. And now, the last example. It’s by Bollman and dated 1963. It portrays New York in 3-D.
All in all, a wonderful tour of the city that is now world renowned.
The Heron Building
70 East 55th Street
New York, New York 10022
Monday through Friday 9:30 to 5:30
Saturday and evening hours by appointment
Their website: www.martayanlan.com