Gallery: The Greatest Grid Exhibit Showcases Manhattan’s Transformation...

The structure of our easily navigable numbered streets and avenues was born in 1811 through the “Commissioners’ Plan.” The design reorganized the rural valleys, streams, and farms into the present-day Houston Street all the way to 155th Street. Visitors begin with lush paintings of farm life, gorgeous estates, and almost unrecognizable maps of wooded areas, ponds, and meadows that are now bogged with skyscrapers.

Pictured: J.S. Johnston, Aerial View of Madison Square, 1894 (Museum of the City of New York)

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