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How countless 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, brand-new Yorkers walk much more miles every day — and also walk them faster—than anyone else in the country. Us can’t assist it. We’ve obtained long highways (which in Manhattan run east-west) and long opportunities (which operation north-south). But how plenty of NYC blocks are in a mile?

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

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But what around the lengths the the blocks in between avenues? not so reliable. Normally speaking, the distance between methods is approximately 750 feet, which means about seven east-west blocks every mile. However there’s some significant variance.

If we’re talking around the area stretching from Houston Street to 155th Street, i m sorry is the official area that Manhattan’s street grid, climate these room your numbers:

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

How carry out we account because that the variability? Look to the times. When the Commissioners’ arrangement of 1811 (more on this later) laid out a proposal for the now-famous gridiron the Manhattan, sector looked fairly a little bit different. Follow to the “Encyclopedia of new York City,” blocks along the Hudson and East flow waterfronts were developed closer together in anticipation of increased advance — an ext opportunities for water-adjacent property. Avenues were designated long and wide to make room because that vehicles choose the omnibus, or horse-bus — one old-school, horse-drawn form of fixed transit.

The size of Manhattan Blocks to be Determined earlier in 1811

It every goes earlier to the Commissioners’ Plan.

Around 1800, the usual Council of new York — “City Council” these days — surveyed lower Manhattan and decided the its anarchic layout, organically forged through pet paths and the whims the wanderings, might use some regulation. Castle soon required that any brand-new streets get approval, and levied fees from building owners to maintain their neighborhood streets.

But together NYC grew, contending viewpoints top top furthering development logjammed any progress, and the city turned come the state legislature for aid. What it acquired was a commission imbued through “exclusive strength to lay the end streets, roads, and public squares… many conducive come public good.”

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

How the NYC Street Grid pertained to Be

The rectangle-shaped grid may not it is in sexy, yet it certain works. The setup — the Commissioners’ arrangement of 1811, that is — to be simple:

Straight streets and also avenues need to intersect at ideal angles. There to be to be 12 north-south avenues, and as plenty of numbered cross streets 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 the the Commissioners’ setup of 1811. (Click to enlarge.)


Unlike the east-west numbered streets, which run 60 feet wide, certain crosstown streets were offered increased broad to offer 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 116th roads run 100 feet broad in part places and 60 feet in others.)

To actually construct the grid, 1,549 marble mite were put at each intersection. And though the process faced vandalism by disgruntled property owners, consistent legal bickering, and environmental obstacles, the city acquired built. It take it 60 years because that the net to with 155th Street, but it ultimately did.

The Longest and also 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 approximately 920 feet.

And the shortest? that a toss-up: Edgar Street between Trinity Place and Greenwich Street, roughly the edge from the new York share Exchange, is 64 feet long. Around as short is Mill Lane between South wilhelm Street and stone Street, eastern of Bowling Green, which is so brief it boasts no addresses.

Is the Manhattan Street Grid autonomous or Ugly?

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

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

The artists disagreed. Walt Whitman claimed Manhattan’s roads were “the last point in the world consistent v beauty of situation.” Edith Wharton called it “hidebound in its fatal uniformity of mean ugliness.” Henry James lamented the the plan didn’t capitalize on Manhattan’s natural topography, saying it to be “the uncollected labor of minds v no creative thinking of the future and also blind before the opportunity offered them through their 2 magnificent waterfronts.”

Even theorist Jean-Paul Sartre chimed in: “Amid the numerical anonymity that streets and also avenues, ns am just anyone, anywhere, because one place is so choose another. I am never astray, but always lost.”

Today, the course, brand-new Yorkers and also visitors alike celebrate the grid for being simple to navigate. And also some big thinkers did watch a worthy aim in its imposition of order. “ not to make the city right into a huge machine and man right into an automaton,” composed French critic and philosopher Roland Barthes, “but to master the distances and orientations by the psychic … that each individual should be poetically the owner the the resources of the world.”—Hey, why not prefer chrischona2015.org ~ above Facebook and follow