<p>Before it was an urban jungle, Manhattan was home to the Lenape Indians, who called the island Mannahatta, or "land of many hills."<br> <br> Built up and--thanks to land reclamation--out, downtown Manhattan, circa 2008, towers over the New York City island as it was more than 400 years ago (computer rendering at right), when Europeans first set eyes on it--complete with campfires.<br> <br> The images were created for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Mannahatta Project, which launched April 20 and includes a <a href="http://www.abramsbooks.com/Books/Mannahatta-9780810996335.html">book</a>, museum exhibition, and <a href="http://themannahattaproject.org/">Web site</a>. The yearlong celebration of Manhattan's natural history aims to recreate the island as it appeared 400 years ago, on the day English explorer Henry Hudson arrived in 1609.</p>

Before it was an urban jungle, Manhattan was home to the Lenape Indians, who called the island Mannahatta, or "land of many hills."

Built up and--thanks to land reclamation--out, downtown Manhattan, circa 2008, towers over the New York City island as it was more than 400 years ago (computer rendering at right), when Europeans first set eyes on it--complete with campfires.

The images were created for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Mannahatta Project, which launched April 20 and includes a book, museum exhibition, and Web site. The yearlong celebration of Manhattan's natural history aims to recreate the island as it appeared 400 years ago, on the day English explorer Henry Hudson arrived in 1609.

Manhattan 1609 vs. 2009: Natural Wonder to Urban Jungle

See the New York City island of today—and as it was 400 years ago, when wolves and elk roamed, forests stretched to the horizon, and Native Americans were the only New Yorkers.

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