We're all so accustomed to modern New York City's skyline of towering skyscrapers that it's almost impossible to imagine how the city looked in the late 18thc, when Eliza and Alexander Hamilton lived there. Although by 1800 New York would become the largest city in the new country, it still was a fraction in both population and scale of what it is today.
This print shows the east side of the city in 1798, with the Hudson River in the foreground. The spire of St. George’s Chapel, on Beekman Street, to the left is the tallest feature, and the large, multi-storied buildings on the waterfront are warehouses. The ships to the right are in Peck Slip.
During the British occupation of the city during the American Revolution, nearly all trees were cut down for firewood. It's interesting to see that at least in this artist's interpretation, trees are once again part of the landscape. Also note how the city itself is clustered close to the water, and rolling hills of farmland and country estates aren't far behind it. That, however, would soon change as the expansion and development of New York moved relentlessly northward up Manhattan Island.
I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott will be published September 26, 2017, by Kensington Books. Pre-order now.