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How numerous NYC blocks are there in a mile? It counts on which direction you’re going. (Thomas Richter/EyeEm/Getty Images)


On average, new Yorkers walk much more miles per day — and also walk them faster—than anyone else in the country. Us can’t help it. We’ve obtained long streets (which in Manhattan run east-west) and long opportunities (which operation north-south). Yet how numerous NYC blocks are in a mile?

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

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

If we’re talking around the area extending from Houston Street to 155th Street, i beg your pardon is the main area the Manhattan’s street grid, then these are your numbers:

The street between an initial and second avenues is 650 feet, while that between 2nd and 3rd Avenues is 610 feet. The blocks between 3rd and Sixth methods ratchet as much as 920 feet. And also finally, block length between Sixth and Twelfth methods is 800 feet.

How execute we account because that the variability? Look come the times. As soon as the Commissioners’ arrangement of 1811 (more on this later) laid the end a proposal for the now-famous gridiron the Manhattan, industry looked fairly a bit different. According to the “Encyclopedia of brand-new York City,” blocks along the Hudson and East flow waterfronts were built closer together in anticipation that increased advance — an ext opportunities for water-adjacent property. Methods were designated lengthy and broad to make room for vehicles prefer the omnibus, or horse-bus — an old-school, horse-drawn kind of massive transit.

The dimension of Manhattan Blocks was Determined back in 1811

It all goes earlier to the Commissioners’ Plan.

Around 1800, the typical Council of brand-new York — “City Council” this days — surveyed lower Manhattan and also decided that its anarchic layout, organically forged through animal paths and the whims the wanderings, might use some regulation. Castle soon required that any new streets receive approval, and levied fees from residential property owners to preserve their neighborhood streets.

But together NYC grew, completing viewpoints top top furthering development logjammed any type of progress, and the city turned to the state legislature because that aid. What it obtained was a board of directors imbued v “exclusive strength to lay the end streets, roads, and public squares… many conducive to public good.”

Years that surveying commenced. What the commission came down on was therefore tried-and-true the the ancient Egyptians had relied on it: the gridiron.

How the NYC Street Grid involved Be

The rectangle-shaped grid might not it is in sexy, but it sure works. The setup — the Commissioners’ setup of 1811, the is — was simple:

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


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


Unlike the east-west numbered streets, which operation 60 feet wide, certain crosstown highways 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 also 116th roadways run 100 feet vast in part places and also 60 feet in others.)

To actually build the grid, 1,549 marble mite were put at each intersection. And also though the procedure faced vandalism by disgruntled home owners, consistent legal bickering, and environmental obstacles, the city got built. It took 60 years because that the grid to with 155th Street, but it finally did.

The Longest and Shortest NYC Blocks

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

And the shortest? that a toss-up: Edgar Street between Trinity Place and also Greenwich Street, roughly the corner from the brand-new York share Exchange, is 64 feet long. Around as short is Mill Lane between South wilhelm Street and rock Street, eastern of Bowling Green, i m sorry is so quick it boasts no addresses.

Is the Manhattan Street Grid democratic or Ugly?

If over there is a sort of beautiful pragmatism come Manhattan’s grid, then that’s the just beautiful thing around it. At least that at first seemed to it is in the consensus.

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Marguerite Holloway, in her biography of john Randel Jr., the grid’s designer, points out that at its inception, the net was produced to illustrate the idea the the “government ought not to action in such a means as to produce inequality of special privilege.” The net is the every-person’s shape. That democratic.

The artists disagreed. Walt Whitman claimed Manhattan’s highways were “the last thing in the civilization consistent with beauty of situation.” Edith Wharton called it “hidebound in its deadly uniformity of typical ugliness.” Henry James lamented the the arrangement didn’t capitalize ~ above Manhattan’s natural topography, speak it to be “the uncollected job of minds with no creative thinking of the future and also blind before the opportunity given them by their two magnificent waterfronts.”

Even theorist Jean-Paul Sartre chimed in: “Amid the number anonymity of streets and also avenues, ns am merely anyone, anywhere, since one place is so choose another. Ns am never astray, but constantly lost.”

Today, that course, new Yorkers and also visitors alike celebrate the grid for being easy to navigate. And some large thinkers did view a worthy target in its imposition that order. “ no to do the city into a huge device and man into an automaton,” created French critic and philosopher Roland Barthes, “but to understand the distances and orientations by the psychic … that each individual have to be poetically the owner the the resources of the world.”—Hey, why not favor sdrta.net on Facebook and follow