The Manhattan Street Grid

In 1807 the 100-thousand residents of New York lived primarily in lower Manhattan. The rest of New York City was farmland. That year the mayor of New York City proposed to turn the farmland into a super city with a grid system. The Grid is one of the most loved and hated of all city plans. It is a very difficult way to deal with traffic. The grid does make it easy to navigate.

When city planners adopted the Manhattan Grid they planned for 1million people living within the grid and an additional 1.5 million people who live outside the grid commuting in on a daily basis.

Rather than following the natural contours of the land like most European cities did with their street system, New York was laid out in what became known as the Manhattan Grid. The only street allowed to deviate from the plan was Broadway, which goes west of Central Park. Greenwich Village has the original street plan making it more difficult to navigate than the rest of New York.

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