A view of Dutch Manhattan from Governor's Island, circa 1660
Sometime around 1670, a surveyor from Belgium named Jacques Cortelyou created a birdseye view of Manhattan. His map provides us with the only detailed contemporary image of New York City as the Dutch community of New Amsterdam. Cortelyou’s drawing, commonly referred to as the "Costello Plan,” survives to this day in a museum in Florence, Italy. The first challenge Tantillo faced was how to correct the Costello Plan to get it to dimensionally agree with the actual scale and street layout of modern Manhattan. He accomplished this by locating an early survey of the city made with precision instruments. Tantillo used a detailed survey of lower Manhattan produced in the late 1890s. This scaled site map was very well drawn and contained numerous property line measurements. His hope was that some of the street patterns of Dutch Manhattan had survived and would be visible in the latter map. Tantillo was pleased to discover that most of what he was looking for was there.
Once the Costello Plan was redrawn to scale, Tantillo had a realistic base on which to set adjusted property lines and buildings. It’s important to note that a plan is just a footprint of an object. No matter how carefully crafted and researched this two-dimensional representation may be, problems instantly present themselves when speculative buildings emerge from the ground plane. Relying on many years of architectural experience, Tantillo tried to imagine what influences the environment and the individual resident would have on the overall look of a period structure. Although much of the visualizing process is conjectural, his decisions are based on closely examined factual data, no matter how fragmentary.
Image size approximate
Type: Giclée Edition ~ Signed and Numbered Prints
Image size: 13 x 26 inches