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Rare 1770 map of New York City found and restored

A rare map of New York City, found in a pile of rolled up documents from the Brooklyn Historical Society has been restored.

“You could hear it rip,” said Ms. Hansen, 29, still cringing at the memory. She stopped pulling. But enough of the map, browned with age and dry and crisp as a stale chip, was open to reveal a name: Ratzer.

“We have a Ratzer map,” said James Rossman, chairman of the society, who happened to be in the building that Monday last May.

That statement, despite the reverence in its delivery, meant little to the others in the room, but it would soon reverberate in cartography circles and among map scholars.

The name Ratzer is invoked as something of a Da Vinci of New York cartography, and the map was an early edition of his best-known work: a Bernard Ratzer “Plan of the City of New York” in its 1770 state.

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Story: New York Times | Photo: New York Times

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