I discovered, through an small story in the New York Times several years ago, a wonderful resource on the nyc.gov web site. It is an interactive map of all five boroughs of the city that was developed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). I have provided a link to it on the home page of this blog for anyone who is interested.
I like maps, I always have. I could spend hours looking at and reading maps, which is maybe the reason that I am fascinated by this one. All I know is I couldn't have planned most of my walks through Brooklyn without it, or figured out so easily where I'd been when I got home.
With a couple of clicks of the mouse you can go from a view of all five boroughs down to a view of one block and all the building lots and buildings on that block.
You can chose a traditional two dimensional map view or a photographic aerial view.
When you are at the building/building lot level you can choose the "i" icon and click on a building and a window will pop up giving you all the information on that building including the square footage, number of floors, owner, date of construction, the zoning map it appears on, etc.
And what has become a very valuable tool for my own walks, you can calculate distance from one point to any other point along the map.
A couple of caveats: I am not sure all the building construction dates are absolutely accurate; some of them don't jibe with dates I happen to know. Also, lately it hasn't been working too well with Firefox, or at least with my Firefox application, and I have had to open it in Explorer.
That much said, it is really a wonderful map and I have suggested to the DoITT that it should not be buried so deep in the city web site but should be linked to on the nyc.gov home page.