Fri, 15 April 2011
How did Manhattan get its orderly rows of numbered streets and avenues? In the early 18th century, New York was growing rapidly, but the new development was confined on an island, giving city planners a rare opportunity to mold a modern city that was orderly, sophisticated and even (they thought at the time) healthy. With the Commissioners Plan of 1811, uniform blocks were created without regards to hills and streams or even to the owners of the property!
Join us as we recount this monumental event in New York's history -- how land above Houston Street was radically transformed and also how the city revolted in many places. What about those avenues A, B, C and D? Why doesn't the West Village snap to the grid? And why on earth did the early planners not arrange for any major parks?!
ALSO: A podcast within a podcast as we focus on the biography of one of those commissioners. Give it up for Gouverneur Morris, the casanova with Constitutional connections, a Bronx estate and a wooden pegleg.