How Manhattan’s Grid Grew

by Paul Knight. Average Reading Time: less than a minute.

To reveal the history of the Manhattan grid’s implementation, the New York Times has posted this interactive map. The most compelling portion of this map is found under the Street Openings tab. You can move the slider back and forth through time and see when each individual street was constructed. The display is amazing. While the entire grid was established ahead of time and surveyed beginning in 1811, the actual streets took 130 years to construct! Think about it: in 1811 the Commissioners had no idea what Manhattan’s future would hold, but they established a physical plan for the city that has adapted itself marvelously well to accommodate current circumstances. The master street plan of Manhattan continues to teach us its lesson: Plan, persist, and be patient.

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