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Start Exploring with the BHS Map Portal

By Laura Juliano

Posted on July 16, 2020

Average monthly rent by blocks, Brooklyn: supplement to Survey of the New York City market: prepared by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. and its system companies. [1940]; B B-[1940].FL; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Today Brooklyn Historical Society is excited to celebrate the launch of our new Map Portal, providing online access to 1500 digitized maps. For the remainder of the summer, we’ll be taking a weekly dive into our map collections to give you a taste of the breadth and depth of the collection, and entice you to start exploring!

Paying rent is on every New Yorker’s mind this summer, and now you can take a look at this snapshot of Brooklyn’s average monthly rent in 1940, illustrated and presented by Consolidated Edison in a 1945 atlas. The map brings to life another era of New York City’s history, a time as uncertain and turbulent as the one we face today.

The atlas, Survey of the New York City Market: Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., is available at the Othmer Library at Brooklyn Historical Society and features a market survey composed of maps with tables showing population, housing, and economic data for the four boroughs. Included in the atlas are four beautiful maps showing the average rent by block, which have been preserved in mylar, geolocated, and digitized. These maps are newly available here through BHS’s online map portal!

While some neighborhoods, like Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights, have kept their high prices, many neighborhoods have changed a lot in the past 80 years. Adjusted for inflation, $100 in 1940 equates to $1,844.56 in today’s dollars; nowhere near the average monthly rate for today’s Brooklynites. Find your block or neighborhood and see how the years have changed the price of rent!

Interested in seeing more maps from BHS’s collection? Visit our new online map portal. You can also visit our online image gallery here, which includes a selection of our photography and artifact collections. We look forward inviting you back to BHS is the future to research in our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, our reference staff are still available to help with your research! You can reach us at [email protected]

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