City on a Grid Book Talk

Love it or hate it, nothing says New York like the Manhattan street grid. Created in 1811 by a three-man commission, the grid brought order to a city just under two hundred years old. Until then, New York was an overgrown town at the southern tip of Manhattan, a notorious jumble of streets laid at the whim of landowners. To bring order to the chaos—and good real estate to market—the street planning commission created an ordered, geometric grid for the rest of the island. It has been called “a disaster” of urban planning and “the most courageous act of prediction in Western civilization.” But what are the true origins of the grid? Join author Gerard Koeppel as he explores the history of Manhattan’s imposing grid and the story of its creators. You’ll learn how the commissioners arrived at their plan, how irregular downtown layouts factored in, and some specific roles that Greenwich Village played in the creation and adoption of the monumental street plan. Were the commissioners prescient geniuses, or uninspired bureaucrats? You decide – but it is undeniable that their work has determined the way millions of people move through New York each day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
6:30 pm

Westbeth Community Room
155 Bank Street, between West Street and Washington Street