Damian Silva – 8/30/18
Having worked in the Archives at the Greater Astoria Historical Society provided me with a sense of awe as I looked around. Having to work and categorize the maps was also an experience that provided in-depth looks at how our neighborhoods in Queens were transformed over time.
For a place that is in the middle of Queens, the amount of books, maps, and artifacts that they have on other counties and boroughs of New York was truly astounding. One example of this was a map that there were only two known copies of in New York. That kind of collection would normally be reserved for the NYPL or more traditionally known museums.
At the end of my tenure as an intern, I was asked to describe the Greater Astoria Historical Society in one word, and it immediately came to my head, underrated. It’s underrated because of how much value, not only through the vast experience and knowledge of Bob Singleton, but also through the vast collections that the Greater Astoria Historical.
Even the research done on Queens is vital because New York tends to focus on Manhattan and Brooklyn, forgetting how vital Queens was to the growth of New York City. The postcards, and various photographs of Queens, and other boroughs, provides a more complete picture of how neighborhoods have transformed, where old buildings have been removed, but not forgotten thanks to the work of the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
Ishraq Huda – 8/25/18
Hello, my name is Ishraq Huda and I am a rising sophomore attending Brooklyn Technical High School. Throughout the summer, I have volunteered as an intern for the Greater Astoria Historical Society, interning on Fridays and Saturdays during the months of July and August.
During the first day of my internship, I was absolutely stunned at the amount of resources and artifacts that the Historical Society had access to. For instance, there were a plethora of large and detailed maps of different areas from all around New York City including neighborhoods such as Flushing or Jamaica, both of which are located within Queens.
To illustrate an idea of how many maps were available, there were a total of 53 piles of maps, each of which contained from 40 to upwards of around 300 maps per stack. These maps dated back anywhere from the late 19th to the mid/late 20th centuries. The maps consisted of very fine details such as specifying the material of a building located on a distinct area of land from a certain year.
Our initial project for the summer involved the interns sorting and organizing the maps based on different volumes and by year. It was quite interesting to see how New York City has changed over time. This project took the majority of the summer to complete.
For the last few weeks of my internship, I worked on taking a look at a picture of Astoria, Queens specifically from Broadway to Newtown Road. This picture was taken in the late 1890’s and showed all the different structures that existed during that time. By viewing the picture, I was easily able to uncover which buildings are still standing today by comparing the same exact area from the document and on Google Maps. Within 20 minutes, I was able to already determine all the existing structures on one street.
The final project for the summer was by far the most interesting and in-depth experience I’ve had in terms of learning and experiencing the history of New York City. As mentioned before, The Greater Astoria Historical Society possesses many different maps of New York City.
Using a website called Georeferencer.com, I was able to overlay these maps as a digitized resource, over the current view of that same area. The website that I used enabled me to change the transparency between the old map and the present-day projection of the same part(s) of the city. This meant that in the blink of an eye, I was simultaneously able to view the changes that this city has gone through over so many decades. It was very intriguing, to say the least.
Moving onward, I’d love to learn more about history and continue to work with The Greater Astoria Historical Society throughout the school year and the Summer. I look forward to my fall internship.
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