New York City Waterfront


This assortment of photographs and drawing reproductions is derived from the collections of several New York City municipal agencies, including the Department of Docks, the Municipal Archives, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and the Department of Environmental Protection. This material—which is only available to Cooper Union students and faculty—was assembled for and included in the 1994 exhibition Essential City: New York Waterfront Survey and its subsequent publication The New York Waterfront: Evolution and Building Culture of the Port and Harbor (1997, revised in 2003).

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.