Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The beauty and artistry of early American maps

HOLIDAY HISTORY GIFT GUIDE Each week for the rest of the year, the Bowery Boys will recommend a newly released book that you might like to include on your holiday wish list. For other book suggestions, check out other entries on the Bowery Boys Bookshelf. Pretend GPS was never invented or that man never sent… Read More


NYC Urbanism: A spectacular snapshot dip into New York City history

The photo sharing service Instagram is a tricky site if you’re a history buff. By design, it’s meant to capture the immediate moment, often drenched in a filter to make things seem nostalgic or historic. The Bowery Boys have an Instagram account if you’d like to follow us along there, although we are mostly just documenting… Read More

Mysterious Stories Queens History

MYSTERY! “Doctor Busted” and the skeleton of College Point

Above is an illustrated bird’s eye view of College Point, Queens, from a 1917 guidebook “Illustrated Flushing and vicinity.” As that book goes on to describe, “COLLEGE POINT is essentially a manufacturing town—the industrial center of the Flushing District.  It is an old settlement like Flushing and Whitestone, both of which it immediately adjoins on… Read More

Rediscovering the rediscovery of a 350-year-old city view

This is not a land of hobbits. Despite looking like an illustration from a J.R.R. Tolkien novel, the map above is actual drawing made of early New Amsterdam as it looked to one cartographer in 1661. It’s most likely an alternate image of New Amsterdam by the city’s surveyor Jacques Cortelyou who provides us with… Read More

The World of Transportation 1918, via Grand Central

A Grand Central-centric Rand McNally map of transporation options in 1918, “the subway, elevated and surface lines” available for residents of Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. (Sorry, Queens. Your borough would not be extensively served by New York’s centralized train system for years.) For a much clearer view, click into the picture or click here… Read More