Monday, December 31, 2012

A View from the Gianicolo 1


Becket, December 31, 2012

As Gianbattista Nolli was completing his legendary Pianta Grande di Roma, his collaborator, the Sicilian Giussepe Vasi was beginning his own survey of the city, Delle magnificenze di Roma antica e moderna, with 240 vedute of Rome depicting churches, palaces, streets, squares and a whole host of other spaces and structures.  Both Nolli and Vasi give a comprehensive view of the city, one through a synthetic drawing, the plan, and the other through hundreds, literally hundreds of views.


In 1765 Vasi tries his hand at a single view showing the whole city, his monumental Prospetto dell'Alma Citta di Roma visto del Monte Gianicolo.  The engraving is more than 8 1/2 feet long and gives a sweeping view of Rome framed by Saint Peter's dome to the left and the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola to the right.  Standing on the Monte Gianicolo on axis with the Palazzo Corsini, Vasi is looking almost straight east, reaching as far north as Caprarola and as far south as Castel Gandolfo (but if you want something more intimate, you can look for Giuseppe Vasi himself, at work--at the bottom, to the left of the coat of arms.)  Of course, you could happily spend a good afternoon (or more!) trying to identify the innumerable places and buildings depicted in Vasi's panorama.

By the way, the word panorama comes from pan "all" and horan "to see".  Interesting--isn't it?--"to see all," a definition that fits both Nolli's Pianta and Vasi's Prospetto.  But in such different ways... (to be continued.)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Providence, 1846


Becket, December 30, 2012

The beginning of the 19th century brought the Industrial Revolution to America, and Providence was at the center of all the changes that came with it.  As the number of mills grew so did the need for transportation.  New turnpikes and a new canal were built.  And in 1835 the railroad got to Providence.  A decade later, under great pressure from the rail companies, the recently created City Council allowed them to reshape the "Great Salt Cove" north of Weybosset  Point to serve as a major node in the emergent rail network.


I must confess a serious ambivalence about this project.  I certainly understand that the scheme was a blatant land grab and the first chapter of a long history of ecological and urban degradation.  Still... it's an exquisitely brilliant project!

The project reshaped the cove into an ellipse, carefully placed to connect the original east side with its rapidly expanding downtown.  The geometry addressed perfectly the turning radiuses of the trains and the newly acquired land provided space for workshops and other maintenance facilities.  And the large body of water surrounded by a tree-lined promenade introduced a major recreational space in the city (infrastructure and recreation, a 21st century kind of project!)  Finally, as a sort of clasp to the necklace, Thomas Tefft's Union Station, curving around the arc of the ellipse, aligning with Westminster Street and opening to the cove through a center passageway (actually this scheme also allowed Tefft to deal with two separate stations, one for the P&W and B&P to the right and another for the NYP&B to the left.)


Unfortunately--and almost predictably--the beautiful elliptical cove would be gone in less than fifty years, victim of the pressures of infrastructure on both city and geography.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Providence, 1790


Cambridge, December 29, 2012

In 1790 John Fitch, a student at Brown University, drew what we take as the earliest surviving map of Providence.  Fueled by the wealth of maritime commerce (including the slave trade of course) Providence had left behind the egalitarian map of parallel lots dreamt by Roger Williams 150 years earlier and was well on its way to become a city.


Fitch's drawing shows not only a thoroughly built up Main Street to the east of the river, but also substantial development to the west.  The two sides are connected by a bridge between the Town Parade and Weybosset Point.  To the north of the bridge (left on the drawing) is the "Great Salt Marsh" and to the south, the Providence River populated by wharves, warehouses and ships, the economic engine of the city.  Along Main, there are several churches, the First Baptist Meeting House at the center, the Episcopal Church to the north and the First Congregational Church to the south up on Benefit Street.  John Brown's house at the corner of Benefit and Power (the street that goes up at an angle.)  Brown University at the top of the hill.  Back on the water, Market House facing the open space of the Town Parade.  On the other side, where Westminster and Weybosset come together at a sharp angle, Jacob Whitman's store, with the figurehead of the ship "Sultan" above its door.  Yes, the corner was already known "by the sign of the Turk's Head."

Also in 1790, Samuel Slater began construction of his first cotton mill in nearby Pawtucket, putting in motion a whole new economic era that would change everything.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Providence, 1636


Cambridge, December 28, 2012

Soon after reaching Boston in 1631, Rev. Roger Williams realized that his fellow Pilgrims had replicated the very forms of religious intolerance and authoritarian governance that had prompted him to leave England.  After a few tumultuous years--by the fall of 1635 he had been convicted of sedition and heresy--Williams resettled beyond the reaches of the Massachusetts land grant and established Providence Plantations.  What kind of plan could come out of such critical attitudes towards the power of church and state?

As it turned out, a most radical plan.  Roger Williams seemed to see common, public space at the root of social evil, so the foundational geometry of his new settlement was reduced to a single road--"The Towne Streete"--along the eastern coast of "The Great Salt River" (roughly on the alignment of present-day Main between Olney and Wickenden) and a series of long parallel lots, about five acres each, running up the hill with a narrow frontage to the street.


There you have it, an uncompromising, non-hierarchical linear scheme, with an even distribution of land and the most minimal amount of public infrastructure.  We'll have to wait more than a century to see the opening of a transversal street cutting through the lots, "for the common benefit."

Note from my friend Judith Wolin: "Williams was using the "Long Lot" farm system that was often used by the French along rivers and marshes... first ones in the New World were along the St. Lawrence in Quebec in the 1620's..."

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ten Cities 10) Lisbon


Becket, December 27, 2012

"Lisbon is destroyed and they dance in Paris!"
(Voltaire, "Poem on the disaster of Lisbon", December 1755)

The great earthquake of 1755 not only left Lisbon in ruins but also shook Europe's philosophical foundations to the core.  In his letter protesting Voltaire's wholesale loss of faith, Rousseau argues that Lisbon's earthquake was, more than anything else, an indictment of the city: "... concede, for example, that it was hardly nature who assembled there twenty-thousand houses of six or seven stories."

By contrast, the Marquis de Pombal, King Joseph's prime minister, took the disaster as an unique opportunity to build a newer, better city.  Mountains of debris were quickly replaced by new buildings with seismic timber structures, and medieval streets gave way to a regular pattern of rectangular blocks.


The Baixa Pombalina (Pombal's Downtown) is an uncompromising but nuanced grid running between the grand square--Praça do Comércio--at the edge of the Tagus River and a reconfigured Rossio square to the north.  The blocks are rectangular, most of them elongated in the north-south direction.  But look carefully and you'll notice that the lower blocks are oriented in the opposite direction, creating a distinction between the commercial area around the Praça do Comércio and the more residential area to the north.  In turn, this change of orientation creates an elaborate pattern of distinctive streets and avenues, some dead-ending on the transversal blocks and others with open views to the water.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ten Cities 9) Mumbai


Becket, December 26, 2012

Transportation maps are often terrific diagrams to understand the structure of the city.  With the enormous precision of satellite data and other contemporary technology, current maps have lost the reductive abstraction that makes earlier ones such valuable documents for urban analysis, but the little maps issued by subway, train or bus companies are still a sort of an X-ray view of the city.


Take for example a rail map of Mumbai.  It depicts the geography of the city with great clarity: an elongated peninsula tapering to the south and barely connected to the mainland.  Really an island.  Actually, Bombay (before the nationalist Shiv Sena government change the name of the city in 1995) was a collection of seven islands that got connected in the late 18th and early 19th century.  The lower tip of the peninsula, where the train lines run parallel and close to each other, is Mumbai City proper.  To the north is the Mumbai Suburban District where the Western  and Central lines began to separate, leaving a large triangular area in the middle.  The southernmost portion of that area is the famous Dharavi slum; then to the north, the Sanjay Gandhi National Par with its Vihar and Tulsi lakes.  The Central line eventually turns east and crosses Thane Creet to Navi Mumbai, the new districts developed after 1970.

Of course, the map tells you nothing about the dramatic, brutal overcrowding of the trains.  But that's another story.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ten Cities 8) Havana


Becket, December 24, 2012

Why would you draw a tree, a single tree, in the map of a city?

There is a beautifully colored map that depicts the main square of Havana---Plaza de Armas--towards the end of the 17th century, perhaps drawn by the Cuban-born military engineer Juan de Císcara y Ramírez (the drawing is actually a "cavalier perspective", the kind favored in the representation of fortifications at the time.)  It shows prominently the old fort--Castillo de la Fuerza--built in the mid 1500s.  Too far into the bay to be of any use for defensive purposes, it was quickly superseded by the two forts--the Castillo del Morro and the San Salvador de la Punta Fortress--on opposite sides of the entrance to the bay.  Still, the old fort became the residence of the governor and an anchor, even if an awkward one, to the architecture of the square.  The map also shows a number of perimeter blocks of different sizes, including the first church of Havana--the Iglesia Mayor, later demolished and replaced by the cathedral.  At the bottom, the open space of the San Francisco Square.


Yes, and the tree.  If you go to Havana today, you can see a tree in exactly the same place, a large Ceiba tree in front of the small Templete, the Neoclassic monument built in 1827 to commemorate the foundation of the city.  Inside, in one of the three paintings by Jean Baptiste Vermay, is the legendary Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, under the large Ceiba tree, celebrating the first Mass in San Cristóbal de la Habana.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ten Cities 7) Cairo


Becket, December 23, 2012

Piri Reis--the Ottoman admiral of the 16th century--was an exquisite mapmaker.  He is best known for some of the earliest world maps including the American continent (yes, he was a contemporary of Martin Waldeseemüller, the German cartographer that first labeled the continent after Amerigo Vespucci.)  Piri also drew some remarkable maps of cities around the Mediterranean.


His 1525 map of Cairo shows the city right at the beginning of the Ottoman rule, so it's more or less the the city left by the Mamluk Sultanate after 250 of energetic urban development.  Like so many maps of Cairo, the drawing is prominently crossed from top to bottom by the Nile, with a hint of its delta at the bottom (means that north is down.)  It shows a large, dense, and heavily fortified agglomeration some distance away to the east of the river.  A number of major monuments appear prominently, including Salah al-Din's Citadel towards the south, and the aqueduct that reaches the Nile at the great tower built by al-Nasir Muhammad in the early 1300's.  My guess it that the big domed structure south of the Citadel is the Ibn Tulun Mosque, but I could be wrong.  No doubt about the three pyramids of Giza on the western side of the Nile.

(By the way, and this is definitely a non sequitur, as an admiral in the Ottoman Navy, Piri fought in Lepanto.  That means that on the day of that battle, our mapmaker coincided, even if in opposite sides, with Miguel de Cervantes, the author of "Don Quijote".)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ten Cities 6) Venice


Becket, December 22, 2012

To look at Venice you have to forget a lot of what you know about cities.

Yes, of course, it's the water.  Usually, solid and void establishes the patterns of access and movement--particularly pedestrian movement--in the city: the built mass is typically the domain of the private and the space in between the place of the public, the streets and squares that we move through in the city.  But many voids in Venice are canals, so you can't really move along the lines of the map as you would have expected in other cities (at least without a boat, but that's a whole different story.)  Even when there are sidewalks alongside the canals, they are often fragmented and, without a sense of continuity, you are quickly looking for alternative forms of connection.  And the bridges, large and small, create its own pattern of connections, but a different pattern, transversal to the lines of the map.  On the other hand, in most cities you assume the built mass to be off limits; yet, in Venice, the sottoporteghi--singular: sottoportego, a public passageway burrowing through the ground floor of private buildings--allow you to move through rather than along the facades of the city, another form of transversal connection.


And it can be even more disconcerting at the larger scale of the map.  If you think of major avenues as baselines to measure distance in the city, in Venice, the Grand Canal with its "s" shape doubling back on itself will only deceive you at every turn (or even, particularly, if you're trying to go straight.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ten Cities 5) Istanbul

Cambridge, December 21, 2012

During its long history, Istanbul had several names: Byzantium, Nova Roma (briefly) and Constantinople.  And at every turn, the city expanded creating new walls to defend its enlarged territory.


The Greek city of Byzantium covered the very tip of Istanbul's historic peninsula.  Its walls surrounded the hill or plateau that later became the site of Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace.  Towards the end of the 2nd century, the Roman Emperor  Septimus Severus took over Byzantium and demolished its walls, only to rebuild a new wall almost half a kilometer to the west and running trough a second hill (the later site of Constantine's Forum.)  In 330 Constantine the Great renamed the city Nova Roma, made it the capital of the Roman Empire and began the construction of a new wall almost three kilometers west of Severus's and encompassing two more hills.  Pretty soon the city was renamed Constantinople and when in 408 Theodosius II began the construction of his double wall about two kilometers west of Constantine's, the city had incorporated three more hills.  In barely more than two centuries, this new Rome had managed to turn, like its celebrated predecessor, into a city of seven hills.

While Justinian--the ambitious emperor that ruled the Byzantine Empire for much of the 6th century--expanded the reach of the empire as far as Spain, he didn't find the need to enlarge the capital itself.  Instead, as we know, he chose to build one of the most magnificent monuments in history: Hagia Sophia.

And that's the Constantinople that Sultan Mehmet II will enter--actually through a huge cannon hole in the Theodosian Walls--about a thousand years later and make it the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ten Cities 4) Beijing


Cambridge, December 20, 2012

It's not as if European cities didn't have absolutist rulers or segregated social hierarchies, but it would be hard to find a city at the scale of Beijing whose map so precisely delineates power and class in its axes and boundaries.

Lets go from inside out.  First, the rectangle of the Forbidden City, the palace compound of emperors and their households.  Around it, the Imperial City, with its temples and lakes, reserved for high officials and imperial servants, also a buffer for the Forbidden City.  Around the Imperial City, the Inner City--a grid of avenues originating at the city gates--that housed the military and various civil government institutions.  And to the south the Outer City, the place of commerce with it's more  irregular fabric.


Each of these sections was surrounded by walls, moats and other defensive structures.  Yes, walls within walls within walls.  And traversing all these layers right though the middle, a long axis crossing a sequence of city gates from Yongdingmen on the south wall of the Outer City, running between the walled compounds of the temples of Agriculture and of Heaven, entering the Inner City through Zhengyangmen, the Imperial City through Tiananmen and reaching the Forbidden City through Wumen (yes, "men" means gate in Chinese.)  Compositionally, the axis continues trough the Drum and Bell towers to the north, all the way to the Jingshan Park, an artificial hill beyond the northern wall of the city that allows for a view of the axis all the way back south ("jingshan" actually means prospect hill.)

This urban structure had consolidated by the 15th century.  At the beginning of the 19th century Beijing was the largest city in the world, with about a million people. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ten Cities 3) New York


Providence, December 19, 2012

Hard to believe that only a couple hundred years ago New York was little more than a settlement at the southern tip of Manhattan.  Even more unbelievable, that around that time, someone--John Randel Jr., a surveyor working for the "Commissioners of Streets and Avenues in the City of New York"--sat down and drew a grid that was going to define New York City centuries into the future.  Yes, just like that.  What is known as "The Commissioner's Plan of 1811" laid out a rectangular grid with twelve wide avenues about a thousand feet apart running roughly north south, and 155 narrower streets 260 feet apart from Houston Street all the way up to Washington Heights.  The grid was more or less aligned with the shore of the Hudson River (about 29 degrees from east-west) and whatever avenues east of 1st were necessary to cover unaccounted portions of the island were named with letters.  


The map showed little concern for either existing property lines or topography, prompting a contemporary critic to say refer to the Commissioners as "... men who would have cut down the seven hills of Rome."  Still, their grid turned proved not only enormously successful but also full of opportunities for adjustments and reinterpretations (just think of the vertical dimension!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ten Cities 2) Vienna


Becket, December 18, 2012

By the mid 1800s the map of Vienna was in a state of expectancy.  Something was going to happen.  Look at it: the historic core of the city appears as if in an urban aspic, separated from its overgrown suburbs by a now useless moat, the Glacis, at points half a kilometer wide.  The elaborate fortifications of the city had protected Vienna from the Ottoman armies in 1529 and again in 1683.  After that second siege, the city grew enormously outside of its old walls, and a new defensive system, the Linienwall, was built (you can see it at the lower corners of the map as an angular thin line,) although mostly for tax purposes.  But when the Austrian forces surrendered at Ulm in 1805, Napoleon entered Vienna without firing a shot.  The extraordinary defensive system had lost its usefulness in the new century.  Still, the city clang to its walls until the revolutionary movements of 1848 sealed their fate.  As the city began to incorporate some of its outer suburbs, the walls became little more than traffic nuisances.  In his famous "Es ist Mein Wille" decree of 1857 Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the abandonment and demolition of all the fortifications.  With this enormous tract of urban land newly available, one of the most celebrated urban projects of all times--the Ringstraße--was under construction in only a few years.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Ten Cities 1) Buenos Aires


Becket, December 17, 2012

At the beginning of the 18th century Buenos Aires--originally named after the virgin of the "Fair Winds" venerated by sailors--was little more than a backwater of the Spanish colonies in the American continent.  Established as a defensive outpost against Portuguese advances, its main economic engine was large scale contraband.  The arrival of the first Viceroy of the Río de la Plata was still more than half a century away.


A 1713 map shows the grid of square blocks established by the founder of the city, Juan de Garay, in 1580.  It's located along the coast of the Río de la Plata and centered between two creeks, the Zanjón de Granados to the south (left of the map) and the Zanjón de Matorras to the north.  The plan displays a remarkably simple but powerful allocation of property: private within the blocks and public outside the lines.  Garay had reserved a block at the center of the river's edge for the fort, and an adjacent one inland for the main square.

Yes, I know, the fort appears to be much larger and the square (indicated with the letter "A") takes at least four blocks... well, that's the beauty of maps.  Interestingly enough, drawing the square two blocks in width allows our mapmaker to place a street at the very center of the city, as if prefiguring the Avenida de Mayo that would be opened exactly in that position towards the end of the 19th century (at the time, the main road entering the city--the "Camino Real," current Avenida Rivadavia--was aligned with the northern edge of the main square.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bulfinch's Crescent, an urban building


Becket, December 16, 2012

One last note (at least for now) about Bulfinch's crescent:

Franklin Place is a building conceived in urban terms.  What do we mean by that?  No, we don't mean that the building responds to, respects or follows its urban context.  Nothing wrong with that, but buildings such as Bulfinch's crescent do something else: they have a foundational role in the city.  Through their massing, form, scale, position, orientation, even style and material, they establish a new order, a new direction for an area of the city.


Look at this 1794 sketch by Jeremy Belknap--the Boston historian and pastor of the neighboring Federal Street Church,--perhaps the first map including the crescent, just completed the year before.  When Bulfinch sets out to work on his project, the site is in the middle of a large block extending between Milk and Summer streets.  Largely a pasture (labeled "d'Acosta's Pasture in earlier maps,) the curving row of attached houses turns it into one of the most urban addresses in town.  Later it will turn become Franklin Street.  Also, the arched passageway at the center of the crescent gives origin to a second, transversal, street, that appears in Belknap's sketch simply as "New Street" and will eventually be named, you can guess it, Arch Street.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bulfinch's Crescent, more


Cambridge, December 14, 2012

When Bulfinch designed Franklin Place--also known as "Tontine Crescent" due to its financing mechanism--his visit to Bath, England, was still fresh in his mind.  It is as if he would have taken the model of Wood's first residential scheme for Bath, Queen Square, and infused it with the curvature of the later, much larger Royal Crescent.  He even placed a pedestal with an urn memorializing Benjamin Franklin (who had died only a few years earlier) at the center of the semi-oval, very much like the obelisk in the middle of Queen Square.


The project is rather elaborate but remarkably simple: 16 attached row houses following an attenuated curve, with a passageway in the center and slightly projecting volumes at the ends.  Dwellings are paired, with each pair taking three bays.  The middle bay is split longitudinally with entrances, hallways, stairs and kitchens for each unit and the outer bays with large, well proportioned rooms facing front and back.  At the center of the crescent, Bulfinch places a taller pavilion with an arched passageway at street level and two much larger spaces for institutional uses above.  He brings the last pair of dwellings at each end just a few feet forward to help them gain their singularity.  The rest of the dwellings form a continuous façade, with the separation between pairs barely marked by drainpipes and chimneys.

When Franklin Place was demolished in 1858, large blocks of attached buildings were the norm in Boston.  But check again the 1814 map and you'll see that at the beginning of the century Boston was a city of small detached structures and Bulfinch's crescent was the first and only group of attached dwellings.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bulfinch's Boston, the Crescent

Providence, December 13, 2012

The filling of Mill Pond was not completed until 1828 but the English mapmaker and surveyor John Grover Hales already includes the street pattern of Bulfinch's triangular project for the site in his 1814 map of Boston.  That is certainly Bulfinch's most distinctive contribution the urban structure of Boston, but if you look carefully, the architect's fingerprints are, literally, all over the map.

As early as 1793 Bulfinch had designed and built a crescent of row houses in what is now Franklin Street.  Yes, that explains the shape of Franklin Street on either side of Arch Street.  In fact, Arch Street takes its name from the central passageway in Bulfinch's design.


After graduating from Harvard, Bulfinch had spent two years in Europe and under Jefferson's guidance had managed to absorb the best of Neoclassical architecture and urbanism the old world had to offer.  You can imagine how much our young architect--he's 25 when he comes back to America,--like any young architect, is itching to try his hand at what he has learned.  In 1793 he gets the commission for a theater on Federal Street and at the same time gets his family acquire land just to the west, in order to build a crescent.  Look in Hale's map, just two blocks to the right of the Common, and you'll see Bulfinch's project.  Unfortunately he goes bankrupt midway and only completes the southern crescent, but it's not difficult to imagine the project he had in mind: an elongated oval space flanked by three-story row houses with the portico of the theater at one of its ends.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bulfinch's Boston, the Triangle


Cambridge, December 10, 2012

Charles Bulfinch was an exquisite urban designer.  Look at the way he filled Boston's Mill Pond.  A lesser designer would have been happy with a reasonable grid, more or less connect with the surrounding fabric.  Instead, Bulfinch introduces a large, district-size equilateral triangle as a starting point for his project (do you realize how difficult it is to start with no 90-degree angles if you're going to draw a rectangular grid?!)  Now, the genius of the architect is to align one of the sides with the old dam and establish this line at the water's edge as the orientation for his grid.  Yes, completely independent from the existing geometries of the city (not that they were that geometric to begin with.)


Then he has to deal with the area inside the triangle.  First he draws a wide street perpendicular to the water line and exactly at the center. It lands effortlessly at the end of Union Street as it arches south towards downtown.  He has to keep Mill Creek connected to the inner bay so he runs a canal at the edge of his main avenue.  Yes, that's Canal Street. Next he draws a street at right angles (he simply labels it Transversal Street) connecting east and west with the same apparent ease. Bulfinch reserves the two wedge-shaped blocks at the inner tip of the triangle for a market (Haymarket.) After that, he articulates a grid of elongated rectangular blocks with as many streets ending at the water as he possibly can.  The rest is simply filling the area between the triangle and the old fabric.  If you really want to get a glimpse at the difficulty of the whole thing, just look how much larger is the area to the east (right) of the triangle.  That's the wrinkle you could say, showing how deliberately, and carefully, Bulfinch had deployed his initial figure.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bellin's Boston 2

Cambridge, December 9, 2012


Bellin's map shows three large open spaces.  The one on the left, opening to the inner bay, is Boston Common, the one to the north more or less facing Charlestown is Mill Pond, and the one to the righ, facing the harbor, is the Town Cove.

In the 1750s, the Common was really at the edge of the city and still used for pasture.  Bellin indicates that it had been substantially taken over by the British army.  To the south of the Common is The Mall, indicated by a double row of trees, and to the north Mt. Wharedom (although British officers had a slightly different spelling for the name, particularly when inebriated) and the two other elevations known collectively as the Trimountain (actually, before the city was renamed Boston, it was called Trimountain.)  The letter J marks the "Fanal", French for lighthouse; yes, that's Beacon Hill.

Mill Pond appears closed by a dam roughly on the alignment of present-day Causeway Street.  In half a century, the tops of Beacon Hill and Copp's Hill (the highest point to the North) would be used to fill the pond (more or less abandoned by then) and make room for Charles Bulfinch's triangle.

Long Warf bisects the Town Cove, a deep entrance on the shoreline.  At the south endo of the cove is Fort Hill and to the north Clark's Wharf.  Yes, that's the North End.  Just to give you some sense of time and place: when Bellin is drawing his map, Paul Revere is in his early twenties and living just a couple blocks inland from Clark's Wharf (below a 1773 view Long Wharf and the North End engraved by Paul Revere.)