, Fri, September 11, 2020
1885 map showing 13th Avenue, via the New York Public Library
You may be scratching your head at the mention of the 13th Avenue in Manhattan, but it does exist–and it’s the shortest avenue in the whole city with a fascinating history behind it. The minuscule stretch covers prime Meatpacking District real estate, just west of 11th Avenue and between Little West 12th Street and Gansevoort Street. The single block across the West Side Highway is unmarked, but officially known as Gansevoort Peninsula. The avenue was created by the city in 1837, and in no way was intended to be so short. In fact, by the mid-1800s 13th Avenue encompassed nearly 15 blocks and was planned to stretch all the way up to 135th Street. But the block never left Chelsea and was mostly destroyed by the city at the turn of the century.
Read all about the life and death of the Avenue
Screenshot of the 19th Amendment Centennial StoryMap, courtesy of Village Preservation
Next week, on August 18th, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Though the fight to give women the right to vote was a national effort, much of the movement had roots in New York City. And like most 20th-century advocacy efforts, a lot of that action was centered downtown. To mark this momentous occasion, Village Preservation has created an interactive 19th Amendment Centennial StoryMap that showcases the remarkable number of people and places in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and Noho that played a key role in the women’s suffrage movement.
Contradictory to its “concrete jungle” nickname, New York City is home to over 19,000 acres of natural areas, consisting of forest, salt marsh, freshwater wetland, and streams. A new map from the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC) highlights the location, size, and condition of natural resources throughout the five boroughs, while comparing the percentage of green space among neighborhoods, parks, and City Council districts. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the city, New Yorkers explored more wild parts of city parks as a way to get fresh air and maintain a safe distance from others. But according to the Conservancy, the increase in visitors is putting additional strain on park management, at a time when budgets across the country are being slashed because of COVID-19.
Created by the Olmsted and Vaux firm, this map shows the original plans for Prospect Park, as well as the historic reservoir at Grand Army Plaza (1871)
The Center for Brooklyn History, a collaboration between the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Public Library, launched a user-friendly online portal that contains the institution’s collection of nearly 1,500 maps of Brooklyn dating back to 1562. While researchers will no doubt appreciate the new accessibility to the unique maps, the tool is also a fun way for all residents of the borough to explore the evolution of their neighborhood over the last four centuries. From rare Revolutionary War maps and original plans for Prospect Park to a subway map detailing how to get to Ebbets Field, the maps span more than 450 years and include transit maps, cultural maps, survey charts, and more.
More this way
Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray celebrate the launch of Phase 2 reopening by eating dinner at Melba’s in Harlem; Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr
Restaurants and bars officially reopened for outdoor dining this week as part of New York City’s phase two of reopening. Since Monday, more than 5,650 restaurants have applied, self-certified, and opened their sidewalk, patios, and adjacent parking spots to diners. To make it easier to find which establishments are open for al fresco dining in your neighborhood, the Department of Transportation on Friday released a dashboard and an interactive map that let New Yorkers search for open restaurants by borough and ZIP code.
A screenshot of the map taken on 5.17.20
New York now has 700+ COVID testing sites across the state and is doing twice the amount of testing of the entire rest of the country. To make it easier for residents to get themselves tested, Governor Cuomo announced on Sunday the launch of a new interactive map that will show the testing sites closest to you. He also announced that the criteria to get tested has expanded to include those who would return to work in phase one.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
We all want to support the small businesses in our New York neighborhoods during this difficult time. But sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which stores and restaurants are currently open. A number of local websites and organizations have created easy-to-use search engines and interactive maps that provide information on open businesses.
Explore the maps
Photo by Enrique Alarcon on Unsplash
In a dense city like New York, social distancing is no easy task. Garbage piles, sidewalk sheds, and people make it hard to maintain six feet from others, the recommended distance to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A new interactive map created by urban planner Meli Harvey shows the width of each sidewalk in the city, with the most narrow highlighted in red and the widest in blue. As expected, there’s a lot of red on the map.
Explore the map here
Photo by Cody Nottingham on Unsplash
Just a few years after the demolition of the original Penn Station, the city founded the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in part, to make sure beautiful historic buildings were never destroyed again. When Mayor Robert Wagner signed the Landmarks Law on April 19, 1965, the commission was officially tasked with protecting sites that represent New York’s history and culture. During its 55 years in existence, the LPC has designated more than 37,000 buildings and sites. In honor of this anniversary, the commission this week released an interactive story map highlighting its work over the last five decades, from its first individual landmark, the Claesen Wyckoff House, to its first LGBT designation, the Stonewall Inn.
Explore the map
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo temporarily banned all non-essential construction statewide, as part of his “pause” executive order. The updated order allows only emergency construction, or work “necessary to protect the health and safety of the occupants” to occur during the coronavirus pandemic. To track projects that are considered essential in New York City during this time, the city’s Department of Buildings on Friday launched an interactive map that identifies sites where work can continue.
Explore the map