Love it or hate it, the “grid” has been a fact of life in Manhattan for 200 years. I spent 21 years of my life alternately bragging then complaining about this marvel of city planning that was once probably quite useful to those traversing the long, narrow island. Of course with any grid comes “grid-lock” and anyone who’s ever tried to cross Manhattan on four wheels has certainly experienced the fatal flaw in this boro’s design: human beings. Phil Patton’s article here provides a good historical overview along with the cultural impact the grid has had over the centuries. Interested in viewing more old drawings and maps? Check out Vincent Virga’s Historic Maps and Views of New York, an over-sized collection of historical drawings, engravings and renderings of NYC.
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