See views of Manhattan side-by-side with a computer recreation of what it looked like before it became a city
The images were created for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Mannahatta Project, which launched April 20 and includes a book, museum exhibition, and Web site. The yearlong celebration of Manhattan's natural history aims to recreate the island as it appeared 400 years ago, on the day English explorer Henry Hudson arrived in 1609.
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.