It’s strange to see this view without the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges spanning the East River and so many massive office buildings towering over lower Manhattan.
But this painting, from the New York Public Library digital collection, depicts a view of New York in 1849.
The East River is crowded with commercial and ferry traffic, and the most towering structures in Manhattan are church steeples.
Brooklyn is still a separate city; it won’t join the City of New York for almost 50 years. Brooklyn Heights is just coming into its own as New York’s first suburb.