New-York & Brooklyn. J./ MATTER BACHMANN, J. H., C. / LOCHER.
A Very Rare View Captures a Burgeoning City
New York City/ Brooklyn.
[New York & St. Gall, 1852]

New-York & Brooklyn.

23 ½ x 29 ½ inches, Lithograph with fine hand color. Marginal repair away from printed image, else excellent condition.

    This scarce and beautifully presented bird’s eye view is remarkable in its accurate capture not only of New York City (then essentially still lower Manhattan) but also of Brooklyn and Governor’s Island.  New York itself – though possessing few buildings taller than four stories – is shown as a vigorous, lively city with promenading pedestrians, horse carts and coaches. Wall Street, Trinity Church, St. Paul’s and City Hall are all prominently shown. Castle Garden – formerly Castle Clinton – dominates the southernmost tip of Manhattan Island. At the time of the printing of this image, it was no longer a fort, having been leased by the Army to the city as a performance space; Jenny Lind began her American tour there in 1850. Five years later, it was pressed into use as an immigrant holding center, which role would continue until those tasks moved to Ellis Island in 1892.

            The foreground is dominated with an unusually detailed view of Governor’s Island, showing Castle Williams and its cannon commanding the harbor as well as Fort Jay (then Fort Columbus), which were part of a system of forts defending the harbor, whose waters are shown teeming with sailing vessels, steamships and tugboats.

Very often, views of this period linger on the notable structures of New York, while Brooklyn is shown with generic structures little resembling the actual city. This view shows Brooklyn’s shoreline in detail, presenting Brooklyn Heights in particularly sharp relief. Furman Street’s wharf faces a bustling East River. The Fulton and Wall Street ferries can be seen, but most remarkable here are features of the Brooklyn Palisades now forgotten, erased by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Buildings recessed into the hillside face Furman Street. Montague Street’s Penny Bridge and viaduct runs straight out on to the quays. Further inland City Hall, St. Ann and Holy Trinity Churches and Brooklyn’s characteristic brownstones are on display. In the middle distance, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and its Naval Hospital appear, replete with two warships at anchor. Clinton Hill and the Brooklyn City Hospital are prominently shown. The city of Williamsburg can be seen beyond, and in the background one can spy the bridge across Newtown Creek linking Green Point and Hunter’s Point.

* Reps 2666; not in Deak.