Marguerite Holloway and The Measure of Manhattan at the State Museum

measure of manhattan book coverSounds interesting: Marguerite Holloway, author of The Measure of Manhattan, will be at the State Museum Thursday evening as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series.

The Measure of Manhattan is a biography of John Randel, Jr, an Albany native who laid out the street grid for Manhattan. Blurbage:

Born and raised in Albany, renowned for his brilliance, Randel was also infamous in his own day for eccentricity, egotism, and a knack for making enemies. He was a significant pioneer of the art and science of surveying, as well as an engineer who created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, laid out a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal, and sounded the Hudson River from Albany to New York City in order to make maps and aid navigation. One of the many delights of Holloway's book is that it also reveals, for modern readers, the original landscape of Manhattan in its natural state before it was "tamed" by Randel's grid.

Holloway is a science journalist and heads up the science and environmental journalism program at Columbia.

The talk starts at 8 pm on Thursday (April 11) in the State Museum's Clark Auditorium. It's free.


Nice. I've been wanting to read this book.

There was a really fantastic exhibit about this very subject at the Museum of the City of New York, last year. One thing that really stuck with me: if your parcel of land, property or house was in the way of the grid, TOO bad. (Even if you were an Astor). And it was up to the homeowner to bring their property up to grade, or level the area, as needed. The planners' vision of what "future" New York would be was prescient and admirable, but I'm sure ruffled many feathers at the time.

This sounds really interesting!

Stupid question: is the entrance for the Clark Auditorium just the main museum entrance?

@Paul -- go into the main entrance and take the escalator down one flight to the Concourse level. The Clark Auditorium is under the Museum. (p.s. This is not a Museum program. It's actually co-sponsored by the New York State Library.)

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