What was Manhattan like long, long ago, before skyscrapers, multimillion-dollar condos and co-ops and fast-food outlets? The opportunity to see arrived Tuesday at the Museum of the City of New York, where it will be exhibited from Saturday through Nov. 29. It is a watercolor drawing believed to be the oldest surviving visual representation of New York City. Made about 1650 and on loan from the Austrian National Library in Vienna, the pen-and-ink sketch, 21 inches wide and 12.6 inches high, looks at New Amsterdam from a point approximating the northern end of Nutten (now Governors) Island at the entrance to the East River.
The sketch, "De Stadt Nieuw Amsterdam gelegen op het Eylandt Manhattans in Niuew Nederlandt," is the centerpiece of the exhibit, "New York Begins: A Rare Drawing of New Amsterdam."