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Season 2013 Episode 02.20.13

New York Squared: Marguerite Holloway on the Man Who Mapped Manhattan

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Just a few years after Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition to the great Northwest, another intrepid American set out on a journey through challenging terrain at the government’s behest. In 1808, John Randel Jr., a young surveyor, was charged with mapping Manhattan Island and laying out the street grid that, for 200 years, has shaped and spurred the growth of New York City. In 2004, Marguerite Holloway, an assistant professor at the School of Journalism, found herself writing about the Mannahatta Project—an effort by environmental scientists to “recreate” Manhattan in its natural state. The scientists relied in part on Randel’s data. Fascinated by tales of the Albany-born surveyor (1787-1865), she says, “I tried to find out as much as I could about him—at the time, there was very little. It became an obsession.” more:moreless

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