Monday, March 02, 2015

Mapping the Gangs of New York

Martin Scorsese's film the Gangs of New York tells the tale of the gang wars between rival groups in the Five Points district of Lower Manhattan in the mid-Nineteenth Century. The film was based on the true gang wars which took place in the area. One of the most notorious battles between the gangs was the Dead Rabbits Riot, a two-day battle which took place on July 4–5, 1857.

The Gangs of New York story map recounts this street fight between members of the Dead Rabbits gang and the Bowery Boys using an historical map and images from the New York Public Library Digital Collections.

I created the map using Leaflet.js and waypoints.js. Using waypoint.js with Leaflet allows you to trigger map interactions by browser scrolling. The result is that you simply need to scroll down the Gangs of New York map to progress through this retelling of the Dead Rabbits Riot.

I've also added a few other images dating from 1856-1858 to the map and a YouTube video clip from Scorsese's film. Just click on the video to play and pause the film clip. When you have finished scrolling through the history of the Dead Rabbits Riot you can zoom out on the map to view the image markers dotted around Lower Manhattan on the map.

I haven't tested the map on a mobile or tablet device but I think waypoints.js doesn't play too well with these devices. Therefore the Gangs of New York map is probably best viewed on a desktop or laptop computer.

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