How plenty of NYC blocks space there in a mile? It counts on i beg your pardon direction you’re going. (Thomas Richter/EyeEm/Getty Images)

On average, new Yorkers walk much more miles per day — and walk them faster—than anyone else in the country. Us can’t aid it. We’ve gained long roadways (which in Manhattan operation east-west) and also long methods (which run north-south). However how plenty of NYC blocks are in a mile?

The average length of a north-south block in Manhattan runs around 264 feet, which means there are about 20 blocks every mile.

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But what around the lengths of the blocks in between avenues? no so reliable. Usually speaking, the distance between methods is approximately 750 feet, which method about 7 east-west blocks every mile. Yet there’s some serious variance.

If we’re talking about the area extending from Houston Street to 155th Street, which is the main area the Manhattan’s street grid, then these room your numbers:

The distance between first and 2nd avenues is 650 feet, while the between 2nd and 3rd Avenues is 610 feet. The block between 3rd and Sixth opportunities ratchet approximately 920 feet. And also finally, block length between Sixth and Twelfth opportunities is 800 feet.

How do we account because that the variability? Look come the times. When the Commissioners’ arrangement of 1811 (more ~ above this later) laid out a proposal for the now-famous gridiron the Manhattan, industry looked rather a bit different. According to the “Encyclopedia of brand-new York City,” blocks follow me the Hudson and East river waterfronts were constructed closer together in anticipation the increased advancement — more opportunities because that water-adjacent property. Methods were designated long and broad to do room because that vehicles like the omnibus, or horse-bus — an old-school, horse-drawn type of mass transit.

The dimension of Manhattan Blocks was Determined ago in 1811

It all goes earlier to the Commissioners’ Plan.

Around 1800, the usual Council of brand-new York — “City Council” this days — surveyed reduced Manhattan and decided that its anarchic layout, organically forged through pet paths and the whims of wanderings, could use some regulation. Lock soon compelled that any brand-new streets receive approval, and levied fees from residential property owners to keep their neighborhood streets.

But together NYC grew, competing viewpoints ~ above furthering breakthrough logjammed any type of progress, and also the city turned come the state legislature for aid. What it got was a board of directors imbued with “exclusive strength to lay the end streets, roads, and also public squares… most conducive to public good.”

Years that surveying commenced. What the commission arrived at was for this reason tried-and-true the the ancient Egyptians had actually relied top top it: the gridiron.

How the NYC Street Grid pertained to Be

The rectangular grid might not be sexy, however it sure works. The plan — the Commissioners’ arrangement of 1811, that is — to be simple:

Straight streets and avenues should intersect at best angles. There were to it is in 12 north-south avenues, and also as many numbered cross highways as needed. The grid would certainly be tilted 29 levels east that true north, to account because that Manhattan’s angling.


Map of the Commissioners’ plan of 1811. (Click come enlarge.)

Unlike the east-west numbered streets, which run 60 feet wide, certain crosstown streets were provided increased broad to serve as thoroughfares. Their numbers i will not ~ be surprising: 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, 96th, 106th, 116th, 125th, 135th, 145th, and 155th streets room each 100 feet wide. (Nowadays, 106th, 110th, and 116th roads run 100 feet wide in part places and 60 feet in others.)

To actually construct the grid, 1,549 marble markers were inserted at every intersection. And also though the procedure faced vandalism by disgruntled home owners, constant legal bickering, and also environmental obstacles, the city obtained built. It take it 60 years for the network to with 155th Street, however it lastly did.

The Longest and also Shortest NYC Blocks

As for the longest NYC block? Take her pick, as long as it’s in between Fifth and Sixth avenues, where block length runs up to 920 feet.

And the shortest? the a toss-up: Edgar Street in between Trinity Place and Greenwich Street, roughly the edge from the brand-new York stock Exchange, is 64 feet long. Around as short is Mill Lane between South wilhelm Street and rock Street, eastern of Bowling Green, i beg your pardon is so short it boasts no addresses.

Is the Manhattan Street Grid democratic or Ugly?

If there is a kind of beautiful pragmatism come Manhattan’s grid, climate that’s the only beautiful thing about it. At the very least that at first seemed to it is in the consensus.

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Marguerite Holloway, in she biography of man Randel Jr., the grid’s designer, points out that at its inception, the grid was developed to show the idea that the “government ought not to act in together a way as to develop inequality of distinct privilege.” The net is the every-person’s shape. The democratic.

The artists disagreed. Walt Whitman said Manhattan’s highways were “the last thing in the civilization consistent v beauty that situation.” Edith Wharton dubbed it “hidebound in its fatal uniformity of average ugliness.” Henry James lamented the the arrangement didn’t capitalize ~ above Manhattan’s herbal topography, speak it was “the uncollected labor of minds through no creative thinking of the future and blind before the opportunity offered them by their two magnificent waterfronts.”

Even philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre chimed in: “Amid the numerical anonymity that streets and also avenues, i am just anyone, anywhere, due to the fact that one ar is so favor another. I am never astray, but always lost.”

Today, of course, new Yorkers and also visitors alike memory the grid because that being basic to navigate. And also some large thinkers did watch a worthy aim in its imposition of order. “ no to make the city right into a huge machine and man into an automaton,” composed French critic and also philosopher Roland Barthes, “but to understand the distances and also orientations by the psychic … that each individual must be poetically the owner the the funding of the world.”—Hey, why not favor invernessgangshow.net on Facebook and also follow