The 'Ratzen Plan' of the City of New York
Date of Creation:
This very rare first state of the 'Ratzen Plan' is one of the most important eighteenth-century maps of New York City. Prepared by Bernard Ratzer a decade prior to the start of the American Revolution, the map is by far the most accurate published survey of New York City at this critical time in its history. This plan is normally referred to as the 'Ratzen Plan', as a result of the engraver's error misspelling Ratzer's name in the title cartouche.
As reported by Deak, the plan details a portion of the city extending from the Battery to a point south of today's Grand Street, including the road to Greenwich, along the Hudson, Broadway, and the Bowery Lane, the high road to Boston. Across the river, a small part of Long Island is depicted, with the important ‘Brookland’ Ferry clearly indicated.
Thirty-one numbered references to the major landmarks are given below the dedicatory cartouche. These include Fort George, various churches, religious meetinghouses, the Exchange, and marketplaces. The nineteenth reference is to 'The College' (i.e., King's College), today's Columbia University, originally located on spacious grounds overlooking the Hudson, south of Murray Street.