I just read an amazing article in National Geographic with the most amazing photos and artist renderings of New York before and after.
I have not been to New York since 1991. I still have photos of myself and classmates on the top floor of the Twin Towers, and in my scrapbook I kept my ticket stubs for my trip to the top of the building. New York City is an amazing city, with a fascinating history. Click on the link above to see the online version of the article complete with the computer generated artists rendering of what Manhattan looked like 200 and 400 years ago.
There hasn't been a beaver in New York for 200 years.
We hunted these buck toothed creatures for their soft fur. I wish I could have seen the towering Chestnuts,the mushroom cloud Oaks, and Hickory trees. The sandy beaches contained feasts of oysters and clams. The 17th century Dutch village had a lovely pond. Deer sipped the fresh water, and ducks played in the far edge while Sunfish swam and leaped. Now we have the Marriot Marquis Hotel on the corner of Broadway and West 46th St.
The streams, and hills, and swamps, the eels, and pickerel are gone. The pond is gone. It was polluted by a tannery, then was buried by a slum. Foley Square now lies there with it's grey cement, asphalt, silver towers, red brick, and "golden arches".
One tree remains there in Foley Square. It once was one of millions, and now exists as a remnant, a single specimen for a museum, for posterity, a single tree with roots far beneath the cement, down where there is still dirt, dirt that was there before trappers, before soldiers, and bankers, before hot dogs, bagels, and pasta, before Sicilian pizza, dollar bills, Gucci, and Times Square.