Watch a Stunning Visualization of Midtown’s Growth Over the Last 150 Years


It’s hard to believe, but not so long ago you could stand on Central Park South and see the horizon in every direction. Cube Cities has thrown together an animation of how fast the city south of 59th Street went from crowds of squat buildings and farmland to a region with one of the highest concentrations of tall buildings in the world. See the video after the jump.

It’s amazing to see the decades during which the city saw explosive growth in midtown and the years with building slowdowns. For the history buffs out there, see if you can match economic booms and busts to the decades of fast or slow development. Here’s a gimme: the 1920s saw intense growth while the 1930s, well, not so much.

By the late 1980s and early 1990s, there’s basically no more room left to put anything anywhere, which is when we get to the midtown Manhattan we know and maybe love–we don’t know–today.

To orient yourself, find Columbus Circle in the bottom right corner of the screen.