The Manhattan Street Grid Plan: Misconceptions and Corrections (a blog series)
By Gerard Koeppel with Jason M. Barr
Aside from their map, the only record the commissioners left for posterity was an eleven-page document outlining the basics of the plan that gridded Manhattan from North (now Houston) to 155th Streets. The document, dubbed “Explanatory Remarks,” explains little of the commissioners’ thinking. Their personal writings practically ignore their work. Over the generations, great intention has been ascribed to the commissioners for which there is no evidence. Analysis of the commissioners’ actions shows that the grid plan was not a “plan” so much as a convenience to satisfy a deadline. That is, not a plan but rather a “rush job” because the commissioners demonstrated little interest in their responsibilities until the final months of their four-year term. Manhattan’s future was sealed with scarcely a discussion.
Clifton Hood's In Pursuit of Privilege: A History of New York City’s Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis
The following is an excerpt from the author's new book, The Roots of Urban Renaissance:
Gentrification and the Struggle over Harlem, courtesy of Harvard University Press.
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