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

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

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

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But what around the lengths that the blocks in between avenues? not so reliable. Normally speaking, the street between methods is approximately 750 feet, which means about 7 east-west blocks per mile. But there’s some significant variance.

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

The distance between very first and second avenues is 650 feet, while the between second and third Avenues is 610 feet. The block between 3rd and Sixth methods ratchet up to 920 feet. And finally, block length between Sixth and also Twelfth methods is 800 feet.

How do we account for the variability? Look to the times. When the Commissioners’ plan of 1811 (more top top this later) laid out a proposal for the now-famous gridiron that Manhattan, industry looked quite a little bit different. According to the “Encyclopedia of brand-new York City,” blocks follow me the Hudson and East flow waterfronts were constructed closer together in anticipation the increased development — an ext opportunities for water-adjacent property. Avenues were designated long and wide to do room because that vehicles choose the omnibus, or horse-bus — an old-school, horse-drawn form of fixed transit.

The dimension of Manhattan Blocks was Determined ago in 1811

It every goes ago to the Commissioners’ Plan.

Around 1800, the usual Council of brand-new York — “City Council” these days — surveyed lower Manhattan and also decided that its anarchic layout, organically forged through pet paths and the whims the wanderings, could use some regulation. Lock soon compelled that any brand-new streets receive approval, and also levied fees from residential or commercial property owners to keep their regional 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 acquired was a board of directors imbued through “exclusive power to lay the end streets, roads, and public squares… many conducive come public good.”

Years that surveying commenced. What the commission arrived on was therefore tried-and-true that the old Egyptians had relied top top it: the gridiron.

How the NYC Street Grid concerned Be

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

Straight streets and avenues must intersect at ideal angles. There were to be 12 north-south avenues, and also as numerous numbered cross highways as needed. The grid would be tilted 29 levels east that true north, come account for Manhattan’s angling.


Map the the Commissioners’ arrangement of 1811. (Click to enlarge.)

Unlike the east-west numbered streets, which run 60 feet wide, particular crosstown roadways were offered increased width 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 some places and 60 feet in others.)

To actually construct the grid, 1,549 marble markers were put at every intersection. And though the process faced vandalism by disgruntled residential or commercial property owners, continuous legal bickering, and environmental obstacles, the city gained built. It take it 60 years for the network to reach 155th Street, however it lastly did.

The Longest and also Shortest NYC Blocks

As because that the longest NYC block? Take your pick, as lengthy as it’s in between Fifth and Sixth avenues, wherein block size runs as much as 920 feet.

And the shortest? the a toss-up: Edgar Street in between Trinity Place and also Greenwich Street, approximately the corner from the brand-new York share Exchange, is 64 feet long. Around as short is Mill Lane between South william Street and stone Street, east of Bowling Green, i beg your pardon is so brief it boasts no addresses.

Is the Manhattan Street Grid democratic or Ugly?

If over there is a kind of beautiful pragmatism to Manhattan’s grid, climate that’s the just beautiful thing about it. At least that initially seemed to be 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 network was developed to highlight the idea that the “government ought no to act in such a means as to produce inequality of distinct privilege.” The grid is the every-person’s shape. It’s democratic.

The artists disagreed. Walt Whitman stated Manhattan’s highways were “the last thing in the people consistent with beauty of situation.” Edith Wharton dubbed it “hidebound in its deadly uniformity of mean ugliness.” Henry James lamented that the setup didn’t capitalize top top Manhattan’s natural topography, speak it to be “the uncollected labor of minds v no creativity of the future and also blind prior to the opportunity provided them by their two magnificent waterfronts.”

Even thinker Jean-Paul Sartre chimed in: “Amid the number anonymity that streets and avenues, i am simply anyone, anywhere, since one location is so like another. Ns am never ever astray, but constantly lost.”

Today, of course, brand-new Yorkers and visitors alike celebrate the grid because that being simple to navigate. And also some huge thinkers did view a worthy target in that imposition the order. “ not to do the city into a huge an equipment and man right into an automaton,” created French critic and philosopher Roland Barthes, “but to understand the distances and orientations through the mental … the each individual need to be poetically the owner of the funding of the world.”—Hey, why not choose barisalcity.org on Facebook and follow