Monday, September 7, 2009

New York, the ecosystem

It is not usual for me to think of the island I live on (Manhattan) as an ecosystem, but whether an environment is urban or rural it is still made up of flora and fauna, its materials exist uncultivated or are put to use as food, shelter, clothes, and means of travel. I live in an ecosystem as much as the next kangaroo and Manahatta, an exhibit currently on at The Museum of the City of New York, means to encourage its visitors to occupy that point of view for a while. It projects the viewer back to Manhattan in 1609 before Henry Hudson arrived, when it was inhabited by the Lenape people, forward to our own time, and beyond to a possible version of Manhattan in 2409. It's interactive maps let you view the island city block-by-city block, with every buildings and subway stations visible, or to see its many plants, its voles, bear, and bird species, where its springs and streams were, and where the Lenape had their trails to walk from camp to camp. Whether you live nearby or are coming for a visit (prior to mid October), I found it a provocative view of a place I generally think of very differently. If you can't make it, Manahatta is also a book and a website. Come and meet New York - the ecological community.

2 comments:

Cam said...

Thanks for posting this. Had fun looking at the website. I took a walking tour of NYC a few years ago and one of the most interesting things on it was the African slave cemetary near City Hall. This little patch of land surrounded by skyscrapers, re-discovered accidentally while someone was doing construction work. If I'm remember correctly, I think that there used to be a Lenape burial site nearby as well.

I wish I was going to be in NYC before this exhibit closed. I've been jonesing for a trip there for awhile. Missing the frequent business trips I used to make. Well, not the business part, just the part about being in Manhattan every few weeks, my favorite city on the planet.

Ted said...

Cam - great website, isn't it? I had heard about that burial ground but have not seen it. There is so much of this great city I still haven't seen!