A SWEEPING VIEW OF EARLY MANHATTAN AND BROOKLYN
Hand-colored lithograph. 24 ¾ x 31 inches, sheet; 34 ½ x 41 ½ inches framed. Drawn on stone by C. Matter. Legend along bottom margin identifying artist and publisher.
This marvelous view of New York and Brooklyn is based on a drawing by the Swiss-American artist John Bachmann (1814-1896), and shows a vibrant seaport teeming with commercial vessels, a testament to the city’s prominence as a bustling center of business and industry. This scene includes meticulous renderings of the architectural landscape of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, including Castle Garden, which was then an entertainment hall, here shown offshore of Battery Park. It would soon be surrounded with landfill as Manhattan's shoreline was continually extended in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The land of New York was discovered in 1524, and colonized by the Dutch in 1624, when it was named New Amsterdam and became a trading port of the Dutch West India Company. In 1664 this Dutch colony was surrendered to British forces and was renamed New York after James Duke of York (1633-1701), who had been granted the land by his brother King Charles II. Within fifteen years of this present view, New York would become one of the most important cities in the new nation. Today it is a vibrant and diverse beacon of culture, finance, and education for the world.
The land of Brooklyn first became populated by Europeans in the 17th century, when Dutch settlers named the small town on the East River shore of Long Island “Breuckelen.” It grew to be a full-fledged city in the 19th century, when industrial development and economic activity rose due to the city’s proximity to the shipping center of the East River shore. For much of the 19th century, Brooklyn was known as the 3rd most populous city in the United States. In the 1883 poem “The New Colossus,” inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, Emma Lazarus called Brooklyn a “twin city” of New York, and it officially became a part of New York City in 1898. Today, Brooklyn is the most populous of the five boroughs of New York and a center of art, culture, music, and business, whose vibrancy and diversity rival that of its longtime neighbor and partner, Manhattan island.
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