How plenty of NYC blocks room there in a mile? It depends on i m sorry direction you’re going. (Thomas Richter/EyeEm/Getty Images)
On average, brand-new Yorkers walk an ext miles every day — and also walk them faster—than anyone else in the country. Us can’t assist it. We’ve got long roadways (which in Manhattan run east-west) and long avenues (which run north-south). However how plenty of NYC blocks room in a mile?
The average length of a north-south block in Manhattan runs around 264 feet, which method there are about 20 blocks per mile.
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But what about the lengths that the blocks between avenues? not so reliable. Normally speaking, the street between avenues is roughly 750 feet, which method about 7 east-west blocks every mile. But there’s some significant variance.
If we’re talking around the area stretching from Houston Street come 155th Street, i beg your pardon is the main area the Manhattan’s street grid, then these space your numbers:
The street between very first and second avenues is 650 feet, while the between second and 3rd Avenues is 610 feet. The blocks between 3rd and Sixth opportunities ratchet approximately 920 feet. And also finally, block length between Sixth and Twelfth methods is 800 feet.
How do we account because that the variability? Look come the times. Once the Commissioners’ arrangement of 1811 (more ~ above this later) laid out a proposal because that the now-famous gridiron of Manhattan, sector looked fairly a little bit different. Follow to the “Encyclopedia of new York City,” blocks along the Hudson and East river waterfronts were built closer together in anticipation of increased advancement — much more opportunities for water-adjacent property. Opportunities were designated long and broad to do room because that vehicles like the omnibus, or horse-bus — an old-school, horse-drawn kind of massive transit.
The dimension of Manhattan Blocks was Determined ago in 1811
It all goes ago to the Commissioners’ Plan.
Around 1800, the typical Council of brand-new York — “City Council” these days — surveyed lower Manhattan and also decided the its anarchic layout, organically forged through animal paths and the whims the wanderings, could use some regulation. Castle soon forced that any brand-new streets receive approval, and also levied fees from property owners to preserve their neighborhood streets.
But together NYC grew, competing viewpoints top top furthering advance logjammed any type of progress, and the city turned to the state legislature for aid. What it got was a the supervisory board imbued through “exclusive strength to lay the end streets, roads, and public squares…
Years the surveying commenced. What the commission arrived at was so tried-and-true the the ancient Egyptians had relied on it: the gridiron.
How the NYC Street Grid came to Be
The rectangular grid may not it is in sexy, but it certain works. The plan — the Commissioners’ plan of 1811, the is — was simple:
Straight streets and also avenues need to intersect at ideal angles. There were to it is in 12 north-south avenues, and as numerous numbered cross roads as needed. The grid would certainly be tilted 29 degrees east of true north, to account for Manhattan’s angling.
Map the the Commissioners’ plan of 1811. (Click come enlarge.)
Unlike the east-west numbered streets, which operation 60 feet wide, particular crosstown roads were offered increased width to serve as thoroughfares. Your numbers i will not ~ be surprising: 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, 96th, 106th, 116th, 125th, 135th, 145th, and also 155th streets are each 100 feet wide. (Nowadays, 106th, 110th, and 116th roadways run 100 feet large in part places and 60 feet in others.)
To actually build the grid, 1,549 marble markers were put at every intersection. And also though the procedure faced vandalism through disgruntled residential property owners, constant legal bickering, and also environmental obstacles, the city got built. It took 60 years for the network to with 155th Street, yet it lastly did.
The Longest and also Shortest NYC Blocks
As because that the longest NYC block? Take your pick, as lengthy as it’s between Fifth and Sixth avenues, whereby block size runs approximately 920 feet.
And the shortest? that a toss-up: Edgar Street in between Trinity Place and also Greenwich Street, roughly the edge from the brand-new York stock Exchange, is 64 feet long. Around as brief is Mill Lane between South william Street and stone Street, east of Bowling Green, which is so quick it boasts no addresses.
Is the Manhattan Street Grid democratic or Ugly?
If there is a sort of beautiful pragmatism to Manhattan’s grid, then that’s the just beautiful thing about it. At least that initially seemed to be the consensus.
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Marguerite Holloway, in her biography of man Randel Jr., the grid’s designer, points out that at its inception, the net was produced to highlight the idea that the “government ought no to plot in such a method as to develop inequality of distinct privilege.” The grid is the every-person’s shape. The democratic.
The artists disagreed. Walt Whitman claimed Manhattan’s roadways were “the last point in the world consistent v beauty of situation.” Edith Wharton dubbed it “hidebound in its fatal uniformity of average ugliness.” Henry James lamented that the plan didn’t capitalize on Manhattan’s natural topography, saying it to be “the uncollected labor of minds with no creative thinking of the future and also blind prior to the opportunity provided them through their 2 magnificent waterfronts.”
Even thinker Jean-Paul Sartre chimed in: “Amid the number anonymity of streets and avenues, ns am just anyone, anywhere, because one location is so favor another. Ns am never ever astray, but constantly lost.”
Today, that course, new Yorkers and also visitors alike celebrate the grid for being simple to navigate. And some huge thinkers did watch a worthy aim in that is imposition of order. “