Thursday, September 13, 2012

From Farms to City - Museum of the City of New York

   For the next several months, the Museum of the City of New York, located at 1220 Fifth Avenue and 103rd St in Manhattan, will present  an exhibit dedicated to Staten Island.  Called "From Farm to City: 1661 to 2012", the exhibit will run from Sept. 13 to January 21.  Curated by Liz McEnaney and presented in association with the usual Island suspects (SI Historical Society, Richmondtown and the SI Museum), it looks to be an examination of the Island's evolution from rural to suburban and ultimately heavily urbanized environment over the past three and half centuries.
   I'm really looking forward to seeing what insights a non-Islander makes into our hermetic little borough.  Too often the focus of Staten Island historians seems to be on the big touchstones (Alice Austen, Farm Colony, Richmondtown, Conference House, etc.) again and again and again.  Fresh eyes are bound to see things we ourselves don't notice.
   The museum has also set up an exciting extra: interactive maps.  They've presented all the various historical maps of the Island going back to 1750.  You can look at a modern day map and then overlay the historical one of you choice and see how things have changed (just like I've been doing for sometime now).  Where I'm particularly jealous is where they've made complete composites of all the separate pages from the various maps.  Absolutely amazing and I'm so grateful to the Museum for doing this and making it available for all to see.