The New York Street Grid System story is a fascinating tale of how the legendary city street system came into being. As well as being the inspiration of the signature pattern for Bolinder Stockholm: "The Manhattan Square," the background is well worth reading.
This is the history why New York Street system was build in blocks.
The street grid system in New York City was developed in the early 19th century as a way to plan and organize the city as it rapidly grew in population and economic importance.
Before the grid system was implemented, the streets in New York City were haphazard and unplanned, often winding and following the natural contours of the land. This made it difficult for residents to navigate the city and for businesses to attract customers. It also made it challenging for city officials to provide basic services such as firefighting and garbage collection.
In 1807, a commission was appointed by the New York State legislature to develop a plan for the city's future growth. The commission, led by surveyor John Randel Jr., was tasked with creating a street grid that would provide a logical and orderly system for the city's expansion.
Randel and his team began by surveying the entire island of Manhattan, dividing it into a grid of rectangular blocks that were approximately 200 feet by 600 feet. They also established a numbering system for the streets and avenues, with the avenues running north to south and the streets running east to west. The grid extended from Houston Street on the south end of the island to 155th Street on the north end.
The grid system was designed to be simple and efficient, with wide, straight streets that were easy to navigate and that provided access to the city's many boroughs and business districts. It also allowed for the easy expansion of the city as it continued to grow.
Despite some initial resistance from property owners, the grid system was eventually adopted and implemented in the 1811 Commissioner's Plan. It has remained the foundation of the city's street system to this day.
In addition to its practical benefits, the grid system has also had a significant cultural and social impact on the city. It has shaped the way the city looks and feels, with its blocks and avenues creating a distinctive urban landscape. It has also influenced the way people live and interact in the city, with the grid providing a framework for the development of neighborhoods and communities.
Overall, the street grid system in New York City has played a vital role in the city's growth and development, and it continues to be an important part of the city's identity and character.