A Natural History of New York City
May 20 - October 12, 2009
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See the island of Manhattan at the time of Henry Hudson's arrival—a fresh, green new world at the moment of discovery.
When Henry Hudson and a small crew of Dutch and English sailors rode the flood tide up a great estuarine river on the North American continent on September 12, 1609, they were looking for a passage to Oriental riches. Instead, they found something much more valuable. Mannahatta's natural wealth—the old growth forests, stately wetlands, rolling hills, abundant wildlife, people who lived in tune with nature—was prodigious and deep. The local people called the island "Mannahatta," which may have meant "island of many hills." It would later be known as Manhattan and would become as densely filled with people and avenues as it once teemed with trees and streams.
Mannahatta/Manhattan: A Natural History of New York City will reveal the island of Mannahatta at the time of Henry Hudson's arrival—a fresh, green new world at the moment of discovery. Through cutting edge multi-media and historical artifacts and maps, Mannahatta/Manhattan will re-imagine the quiet, wooded island at the mouth of a great river that was destined to become one of the greatest cities on Earth. Moreover, Mannahatta/Manhattan will challenge visitors to view the city of today as a place where the relationship between nature and people is at its most important and to understand that the principles of diversity, interdependence, and interrelativity operate in a modern mega-city much as they do in nature. In doing so, the exhibition will contribute something new to the history of New York—a view of its ecological origin—and in that contribution, shape the future as well.
Mannahatta/Manhattan: A Natural History of New York City is presented in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society. For more information, visit the Mannahatta Project website.