Friday, March 25, 2011

The Evolution of Manhattan's Grid

Scrolling through the history of Manhattan's streets. (New York Times)

In honor of the 200th anniversary of the creation of the iconic grid that covers the northern three-quarters of Manhattan, the New York Times ran an interesting article recounting the history of the grid. Even more interesting was the accompanying interactive feature that layers the historical iterations of the map of new York over one another, along with a sliding timeline of street openings.

The timeline lets you check in on the map of New York at any point in its history. It's a fascinating way to see how living patterns evolved over the course of the city's history. Like reading tree rings, one can see periods of boom and bust as the map evolved from that of a growing boom town to a stable, mature metropolis. My other favorite element of this article was some of the trivia about the grid, like the fact that the Brevoort family fought the division of their land, and hence there is no 11th Street between Broadway and 4th. Both the article and the engrossing add-on are worth your time.

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