I’m continuing my Tompkins Square Park Tree Identification Project. Here are maps of the park that I am finding useful in my research. NYCityMap is a great resource, you can enter any NYC address or point of interest, and find maps, and aerial photos through the years of all the boroughs. Plus you can see building violations, zoning and overlays of such things as water fountains and parks. Keep an eye on map feature updates at their blog. The aerial photos start in 1924, think bi-planes buzzing overhead.
It looks like it was taken in winter. That must be a pavilion in the center. I’m imagining brass bands playing here. There’s another one further east. I’ve rotated the image to have it squared off with the streets.
A friendly Tompkins Square community member let me photograph her copy of a map drawn by Lorna McNeur in the Spring of 1981 for The Friends of Tompkins Square Park. Notice how many elms were there then. Also note the bandshell and the various arrangements of benches, tables and fences. My photo does not do justice to this lovely drawing. I was dealing with reflections from glass over a faded print and had to tweak it severely to get readable details. But it is a great map, I was very happy to find it. The tree identifications on it are limited to major trees. I love seeing the arrangements of benches and tables that were there. I moved here in 1978 and I can vaguely remember them. View Full Size
The next date available on NYCityMap is 1996. Note the old dog run. There is a bit less green covering paths and details here. This might let me tighten up the cartography on my map. I don’t think the configurations of the fences have changed, other than the playgrounds.
My latest brainstorm is to use the seemingly uniform (40″) fence segments to calculate distances for my map. If it wasn’t raining today I’d be out there confirming some of the details I have here. So instead of pacing off like a pirate, I’m wandering around the park counting fence posts, and trying not to run into people.
This is a work in progress I am sure there are still many errors in it. The tree icons are proportional to their estimated trunk diameter. Right now I am more interested in notiing their positions and sizes as accurately as I can. The tree identification can come later. Your help is welcome in all this. I’m continuing to photograph the trees, and hope to have portraits of all the major trees of the park before the leaves are gone.
The purple arrows show trail directions. The idea is to sequentially number the trees along those paths for identification purposes. I’m using the Manhattan convention of north being uptown though that is way off the actual compass point.