Christian Long

Eric Sanderson: Pictures New York Before the City

In TED Talks on April 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Reflection by ANDREW R.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Eric Sanderson:  Pictures New York Before the City

In this video, Eric Sanderson explains how he used computer software to create something that many people haven’t thought about. He created a 3D map of what New York looked like 400 years ago. This land was called Mannahatta.

Eric and his colleagues have been working hard for about 10 years to find a way to see this land before civilization, and how it became one of the biggest and most populated cities in the world. They call this quest to rediscover historical New York “The Mannahatta Project.” As they have eventually succeeded, Sanderson shares the result to TED. They wanted to see this land through the eyes of Henry Hudson, when he first saw it on September 12th, 1609.

As a child, Sanderson would travel to New York on the weekends to tour this wondrous city. He would go to the top of the Empire State Building to look down at the landscape of this amazing city. He would go to Times Square and look at all of the advertisements all over the building and watch as others did the same, and he wondered why they didn’t look BEYOND the building unto the history of this land, as he did.

As Eric began to study the history and geography of New York, he discovered that it was one of the very first cities to have a population of 10 million people.

He wondered why.

He wondered what drew people to the “Big Apple.” Sanderson shows the audience paintings of what places like Times Square looked like just 400 years earlier. The people are amused, but it really is quite interesting to see what such an amazing and busy city looked like in the history.

Sometimes I sit in my backyard and think, “Wow, dinosaurs used to live here.” It really is riveting to put your mind to it and think about the past.

Sanderson does a great job of explaining his curiosity in New York and Mannahatta. He inspires by showing that he created a mind-blowing 3D map just because he wanted to know what this popular place looked like when it was discovered by Henry Hudson.

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