Bird's Eye View Drawings of New York City

 

A bird's eye view is a view from a very high place as if seen by a bird in flight. It allows a view of a very large area below the viewpoint.

Until the 18th century many cities were represented in an artistic perspective, like the Restitutio View, 1673, instead of an architectural perspective. Later, the use of camera obscura and lenses allowed artists and engineers to draw more technical and detailed cityscapes. In the late 18th century and in the first half of 19th century several skylines of New York were drawn, possibly using the camera obscura technique.

From the 1830s to the 1870s, some panoramic views of New York City were drawn from the top of high structures, like the American Museum (1837), St. Paul’s Chapel (1848, 1855), Trinity Church (1848, 1853, 1872), Astor House (1849), Latting Observatory (1855), old tower in Central Park (1859, maybe also 1873 and another in 1875 by John Bachmann) and Hotel Bristol (1879, based on photograph).

Since the mid-19th century, photography has changed the way urban spaces are recorded. Until the 1880s good quality photograph was not ease to take, but, even with poor quality, photography replaced the camera obscura as a resource and drawings were made with the help of photographs, until the early 20th century. During this time, several bird's eye view drawings of New York were published, not generally drawn to scale, probably all with the help of photography and balloons, which could be anchored, but this did not avoid vibrations that prevented good quality photographs.

Bachman appears to by the first to draw such a view by 1849, showing Lower Manhattan from Union Square and a bird's eye view of New-York & Brooklyn was published in 1850 by John Bachmann.

Experiments with unmanned air balloons were made in New York City since the late 18th century. In August 1819, Mr. Guillé, a Frenchman, ascended in a balloon from Vauxhall Garden to a height of 1,500 fathoms, and then he descended by means of a parachute. He landed across the East River. This was the first actual ascension of a person in a balloon in New York. In October 1825, a woman, Madame Johnson, ascended in a balloon from Castle Garden. In October 1826, French balloonist Eugène Robertson ascended in a gas balloon from Castle Garden. On September 9, 1830, Charles E. Durant became the first U.S. citizen to fly a balloon. He ascended from Castle Garden, flew about 25 miles, in three hours, and landed in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

The 20th century brought aerophotogrammetry and satellite imagery.

More: Historical maps of New York City

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old City of New York

 

 

 

NY Nineteenth Century

 

New York City Brooklyn

 

Central Park NY

View from Central Park looking south.

 

City New York

 

Aerial image NY

 

City New York

 

Projected bridge NY

 

New York City NY

 

Manhattan NYC

 

Ny photograph baloon

 

New York 18th century

 

NY globe

 

Broadway NY

 

Central Park NY 1859

 

Greater New York

 

NYC nineteen century

 

Manhattan 19th century

Lower Manhattan, looking south from 42nd Street, showing the Croton Reservoir and the Crystal Palace, built for the Exhibition of the Industries of All Nations, 1853/1854.

 

 

New York NY

 

19th century NY

 

Panorama New York City

 

City of New York in 1856. When enlarged, these bird's eye views can shown precious cityscapes with historical buildings.

 

City New York

 

New York nineteenth century

 

Panorama New York NY

 

Lower Manhattan

 

Bird's Eye View of New York

 

Old New York

 

NYC 19th century

 

New York NY

 

City Hall Park

 

Lower Manhattan 1910

 

More: Skylines & Bird's Eye Views of NYC, 19th Century

 

New York City 19th century

 

City Brooklyn

 

New York NY 19th century

 

New York 17th century

 

 

City New York panorama

 

Panoramic View NY

 

Lower Manhattan

 

NY Panorama

 

Bird's Eye View Drawings of New York City

 

Nineteenth century NY

 

New York view

 

Old City New York

 

New-York & Brooklyn

 

NYC

 

Copyright © Geographic Guide - Historical Drawings of NYC.