MANHATTAN 1609 vs. 2009: Natural Wonder to Urban Jungle

MANHATTAN 1609 vs. 2009: Natural Wonder to Urban Jungle
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Built partly on reclaimed land, the Battery Park City neighborhood (left) anchors the western side of modern Manhattan's southern tip, whose shoreline has been extended considerably since 1609.

As with today's Manhattan, part of Mannahatta's charm was its neighborhoods, said Eric Sanderson, leader of the Mannahatta Project, which launched April 20, 2009. But Mannahatta's enclaves were defined by their unique communities of plants and animals, including wolves, mountain lions, elk, deer, and beavers.

"There were 55 different ecological communities," Sanderson estimated. Acre for acre, "that's more ecological communities ... than most national parks have."
—Image courtesy Markley Boyer, Mannahatta Project/Wildlife Conservation Society
 
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