Manhattan (/mænˈhætən,_mən-/), often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.
Manhattan is often described as the cultural, financial, media, and entertainment capital of the world,Barry, Dan. "A Nation challenged: in New York; New York Carries On, but Test of Its Grit Has Just Begun", The New York Times, October 11, 2001. Accessed November 20, 2016. "A roaring void has been created in the financial center of the world." and the borough hosts the United Nations Headquarters. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, Accessed October 7, 2018. and Manhattan is home to the world's two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization: the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Many multinational media conglomerates are based in Manhattan, and the borough has been the setting for numerous books, films, and television shows. Manhattan is historically documented to have been purchased by Dutch colonists from Native Americans in 1626 for 60 guilders, which equals roughly US$ in current terms. Manhattan real estate has since become among the most expensive in the world, with the value of Manhattan Island, including real estate, estimated to exceed US$3 trillion in 2013; median residential property sale prices in Manhattan approximated US1,600$/ft2 as of 2018, Accessed January 31, 2018. with Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan commanding the highest retail rents in the world, at US3,000$/ft2 in 2017.
Manhattan traces its origins to a trading post founded by colonists from the Dutch Republic in 1624 on Lower Manhattan; the post was named New Amsterdam in 1626. The territory and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York. New York, based in present-day Manhattan, served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the Americas by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is a world symbol of the United States and its ideals of liberty and peace. Manhattan became a borough during the consolidation of New York City in 1898.
New York County is the United States' second-smallest county by land area (larger only than Kalawao County, Hawaii), and is also the most densely populated U.S. county. It is also one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a census-estimated 2017 population of 1,664,727 living in a land area of 22.83sqmi, or 72,918 residents per square mile (28,154/km2), higher than the density of any individual U.S. city. On business days, the influx of commuters increases this number to over 3.9 million, or more than 170,000 people per square mile (65,600/km2). Manhattan has the third-largest population of New York City's five boroughs, after Brooklyn and Queens, and is the smallest borough in terms of land area. Manhattan Island is often informally divided into three areas, each aligned with its long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.
Many districts and landmarks in Manhattan are well known, as New York City received a record 62.8 million tourists in 2017, and Manhattan hosts three of the world's 10 most-visited tourist attractions in 2013: Times Square, Central Park, and Grand Central Terminal. The borough hosts many prominent bridges, such as the Brooklyn Bridge; skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building; and parks, such as Central Park. Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, and the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, part of the Stonewall National Monument, is considered the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. The City of New York was founded at the southern tip of Manhattan, and the borough houses New York City Hall, the seat of the city's government. Numerous colleges and universities are located in Manhattan, including Columbia University, New York University, Cornell Tech, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top 40 in the world.
The name Manhattan derives from the Munsee dialect of the Lenape language 'manaháhtaan' (where 'manah-' means "gather", '-aht-' means "bow" and '-aan' is an abstract element used to form verb stems). The Lenape word has been translated as "the place where we get bows" or "place for gathering the (wood to make) bows". According to a Munsee tradition recorded in the 19th century, the island was named so for a grove of hickory trees at the lower end that was considered ideal for the making of bows.
It was first recorded in writing as Manna-hata, in the 1609 logbook of Robert Juet, an officer on Henry Hudson's yacht Halve Maen (Half Moon). A 1610 map depicts the name as Manna-hata, twice, on both the west and east sides of the Mauritius River (later named the Hudson River). Alternative folk etymologies include "island of many hills", "the island where we all became intoxicated" and simply "island", as well as a phrase descriptive of the whirlpool at Hell Gate.
The Castello Plan showing the Dutch colonial city of New Amsterdam in 1660 – then confined to the southern tip of Manhattan Island
The area that is now Manhattan was long inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans. In 1524, Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano – sailing in service of King Francis I of France – became the first documented European to visit the area that would become New York City. He entered the tidal strait now known as The Narrows and named the land around Upper New York Harbor "New Angoulême", in reference to the family name of King Francis I that was derived from Angoulême in France; he sailed far enough into the harbor to sight the Hudson River, which he referred to in his report to the French king as a "very big river"; and he named the Bay of Santa Margarita – what is now Upper New York Bay – after Marguerite de Navarre, the elder sister of the king.R. J. Knecht: Renaissance Warrior and Patron: The Reign of Francis I; p. 372. Cambridge University Press (1996) Seymour I. Schwartz: The Mismapping of America. p.42; The University of Rochester Press (2008)
It was not until the voyage of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who worked for the Dutch East India Company, that the area was mapped. Hudson came across Manhattan Island and the native people living there in 1609, and continued up the river that would later bear his name, the Hudson River, until he arrived at the site of present-day Albany."Henry Hudson and His Exploration" Scientific American, September 25, 1909. Accessed May 1, 2007. "This was a vain hope however, and the conviction must finally have come to the heart of the intrepid adventurer that once again he was foiled in his repeated quest for the northwest passage ... On the following day the "Half Moon" let go her anchor inside of Sandy Hook. The week was spent in exploring the bay with a shallop, or small boat, and "they found a good entrance between two headlands" (the Narrows) "and thus entered on the September 11 into as fine a river as can be found.""
A permanent European presence in New Netherland began in 1624, with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement on Governors Island. In 1625, construction was started on the citadel of Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan Island, later called New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam), in what is now Lower Manhattan.Dutch Colonies, National Park Service. Accessed May 19, 2007. "Sponsored by the West India Company, 30 families arrived in North America in 1624, establishing a settlement on present-day Manhattan."GovIsland Park-to-Tolerance: through Broad Awareness and Conscious Vigilance, Tolerance Park. Accessed November 20, 2016. See Legislative Resolutions Senate No. 5476 and Assembly No. 2708. The 1625 establishment of Fort Amsterdam at the southern tip of Manhattan Island is recognized as the birth of New York City.City Seal and Flag, New York City. Accessed November 20, 2016. "Date: Beneath the horizontal laurel branch the date 1625, being the year of the establishment of New Amsterdam."
According to a letter by Pieter Janszoon Schagen, Peter Minuit and Dutch colonists acquired Manhattan on May 24, 1626, from unnamed Native American people, who are believed to have been Canarsee Indians of the Lenape,New York: History – Islands Draw Native American, Dutch, and English Settlement, City-data. Accessed November 20, 2016. in exchange for traded goods worth 60 guilders, often said to be worth US$24. The figure of 60 guilders comes from a letter by a representative of the Dutch Estates General and member of the board of the Dutch West India Company, Pieter Janszoon Schagen, to the Estates General in November 1626.Peter Schaghen Letter with transcription. New Netherland Institute (1626-11-07). Retrieved on 2015-02-16. In 1846, New York historian John Romeyn Brodhead converted the figure of Fl 60 (or 60 guilders) to US$23. "[A] variable-rate myth being a contradiction in terms, the purchase price remains forever frozen at twenty-four dollars," as Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace remarked in their history of New York.Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, (1999: xivff) Sixty guilders in 1626 was valued at approximately $1,000 in 2006, according to the Institute for Social History of Amsterdam.The International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam calculates its value as 60 guilders (1626) = €678.91 (2006), equal to about $1,000 in 2006. Based on the price of silver, Straight Dope author Cecil Adams calculated an equivalent of $72 in 1992.How much would the $24 paid for Manhattan be worth in today's money?. The Straight Dope (July 31, 1992). Retrieved on July 23, 2013. Historians James and Michelle Nevius revisited the issue in 2014, suggesting that using the prices of beer and brandy as monetary equivalencies, the price Minuit paid would have the purchasing power of somewhere between $2,600 and $15,600 in current dollars. According to the writer Nathaniel Benchley, Minuit conducted the transaction with Seyseys, chief of the Canarsee Native Americans, who were willing to accept valuable merchandise in exchange for the island that was mostly controlled by the Weckquaesgeeks, a band of the Wappinger.Benchley, Nathaniel. "The $24 Swindle: The Indians who sold Manhattan were bilked, all right, but they didn’t mind — the land wasn't theirs anyway." American Heritage, Vol. 11, no. 1 (December 1959).
In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant was appointed as the last Dutch Director General of the colony.Williams, Jasmin K. "Classroom Extra: New York – The Empire State", The New York Post, November 22, 2006. Accessed November 20, 2016. "In 1647, Dutch leader Peter Stuyvesant arrived with an iron fist to put an end to the colony's rampant crime and restore order." New Amsterdam was formally incorporated as a city on February 2, 1653.About the Council, New York City Council. Accessed May 18, 2007. In 1664, the English conquered New Netherland and renamed it "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany, the future King James II.New York State History, New York Department of State. Accessed June 29, 2009. "...named New York in honor of the Duke of York." The Dutch, under Director General Stuyvesant, successfully negotiated with the English to produce 24 articles of provisional transfer, which sought to retain for the extant citizens of New Netherland their previously attained liberties (including freedom of religion) under new colonial English rulers.Griffis, William Elliot. "The Story of New Netherland" Chapter XV: The Fall of New Netherland, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1909. "In religious matters, Article VIII of the capitulation read, "The Dutch shall enjoy the liberty of their consciences in Divine worship and in Church government.""
The Dutch Republic regained the city in August 1673, renaming it "New Orange". New Netherland was ultimately ceded to the English in November 1674 through the Treaty of Westminster.Scheltema, Gajus and Westerhuijs, Heleen (eds.),Exploring Historic Dutch New York. Museum of the City of New York/Dover Publications, New York (2011).
American Revolution and the early United States
Manhattan was at the heart of the New York Campaign, a series of major battles in the early American Revolutionary War. The Continental Army was forced to abandon Manhattan after the Battle of Fort Washington on November 16, 1776. The city, greatly damaged by the Great Fire of New York during the campaign, became the British military and political center of operations in North America for the remainder of the war.Fort Washington Park, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Accessed May 18, 2007. The military center for the colonists was established in New Jersey.About Morristown, Town of Morristown. Accessed April 3, 2013. "Morristown became characterized as 'the military capital of the American Revolution' because of its strategic role in the war for independence from Great Britain."Weig, Melvin J.; and Craig, Vera B. Morristown: A Military Capital of the American Revolution, National Park Service, 1950, reprinted 1961. Accessed July 19, 2011. British occupation lasted until November 25, 1783, when George Washington returned to Manhattan, as the last British forces left the city."Happy Evacuation Day", New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, November 23, 2005. Accessed May 18, 2007.
From January 11, 1785, to the fall of 1788, New York City was the fifth of five capitals of the United States under the Articles of Confederation, with the Continental Congress meeting at New York City Hall (then at Fraunces Tavern). New York was the first capital under the newly enacted Constitution of the United States, from March 4, 1789, to August 12, 1790, at Federal Hall.The Nice Capitals of the United States. United States Senate Historical Office. Accessed June 9, 2005. Based on Fortenbaugh, Robert, The Nine Capitals of the United States, York, Pennsylvania: Maple Press, 1948... Federal Hall was also the site where the United States Supreme Court met for the first time, the United States Bill of Rights were drafted and ratified, and where the Northwest Ordinance was adopted, establishing measures for adding new states to the Union.
Manhattan in 1873. The Brooklyn Bridge was under construction from 1870 until 1883
New York grew as an economic center, first as a result of Alexander Hamilton's policies and practices as the first Secretary of the Treasury and, later, with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, which connected the Atlantic port to the vast agricultural markets of the Midwestern United States and Canada. By 1810, New York City, then confined to Manhattan, had surpassed Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States.
Tammany Hall, a Democratic Party political machine, began to grow in influence with the support of many of the immigrant Irish, culminating in the election of the first Tammany mayor, Fernando Wood, in 1854. Tammany Hall dominated local politics for decades. Central Park, which opened to the public in 1858, became the first landscaped public park in an American city.
New York City played a complex role in the American Civil War. The city's strong commercial ties to the southern United States existed for many reasons, including the industrial power of the Hudson River, which allowed trade with stops such as the West Point Foundry, one of the great manufacturing operations in the early United States; and the city's Atlantic Ocean ports, rendering New York City the American powerhouse in terms of industrial trade between the northern and southern United States. New York's growing immigrant population, which had originated largely from Germany and Ireland, began in the late 1850s to include waves of Italians and Central and Eastern European Jews flowing in en masse. Anger arose about conscription, with resentment at those who could afford to pay $300 to avoid service leading to resentment against Lincoln's war policies and fomenting paranoia about free Blacks taking the poor immigrants' jobs, culminating in the three-day-long New York Draft Riots of July 1863. These intense war-time riots are counted among the worst incidents of civil disorder in American history, with an estimated 119 participants and passersby massacred.
The rate of immigration from Europe grew steeply after the Civil War, and Manhattan became the first stop for millions seeking a new life in the United States, a role acknowledged by the dedication of the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886, a gift from the people of France. The new European immigration brought further social upheaval. In a city of tenements packed with poorly paid laborers from dozens of nations, the city became a hotbed of revolution (including anarchists and communists among others), syndicalism, racketeering, and unionization.
In 1883, the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge established a road connection to Brooklyn, across the East River. In 1874 the western portion of the present Bronx County was transferred to New York County from Westchester County, and in 1895 the remainder of the present Bronx County was annexed. In 1898, when New York City consolidated with three neighboring counties to form "the City of Greater New York", Manhattan and the Bronx, though still one county, were established as two separate boroughs. On January 1, 1914, the New York State Legislature created Bronx County, and New York County was reduced to its present boundaries.
Manhattan's Little Italy, Lower East Side, circa 1900
The construction of the New York City Subway, which opened in 1904, helped bind the new city together, as did additional bridges to Brooklyn. In the 1920s Manhattan experienced large arrivals of African-Americans as part of the Great Migration from the southern United States, and the Harlem Renaissance, part of a larger boom time in the Prohibition era that included new skyscrapers competing for the skyline. New York City became the most populous city in the world in 1925, overtaking London, which had reigned for a century.Chase-Dunn, Christopher and Manning, Susan. "City systems and world-systems: Four millennia of city growth and decline", University of California, Riverside Institute for Research on World-Systems. Accessed May 17, 2007. "New York, which became the largest city in the world by 1925, beating out London..." Manhattan's majority white ethnic group declined from 98.7% in 1900 to 58.3% by 1990.
On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Greenwich Village killed 146 garment workers. The disaster eventually led to overhauls of the city's fire department, building codes, and workplace regulations.Rosenberg, Jennifer. Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, About.com. Accessed May 17, 2007.
The period between the World Wars saw the election of reformist mayor Fiorello La Guardia and the fall of Tammany Hall after 80 years of political dominance. As the city's demographics stabilized, labor unionization brought new protections and affluence to the working class, the city's government and infrastructure underwent a dramatic overhaul under La Guardia. Despite the Great Depression, some of the world's tallest skyscrapers were completed in Manhattan during the 1930s, including numerous Art Deco masterpieces that are still part of the city's skyline, most notably the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Returning World War II veterans created a postwar economic boom, which led to the development of huge housing developments targeted at returning veterans, the largest being Peter Cooper Village-Stuyvesant Town, which opened in 1947."Stuyvesant Town to Get Its First Tenants Today", The New York Times, August 1, 1947. p. 19 In 1951–1952, the United Nations relocated to a new headquarters the East Side of Manhattan.
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights.
In the 1970s job losses due to industrial restructuring caused New York City, including Manhattan, to suffer from economic problems and rising crime rates. While a resurgence in the financial industry greatly improved the city's economic health in the 1980s, New York's crime rate continued to increase through the decade and into the beginning of the 1990s.
The 1980s saw a rebirth of Wall Street, and Manhattan reclaimed its role at the center of the worldwide financial industry. The 1980s also saw Manhattan at the heart of the AIDS crisis, with Greenwich Village at its epicenter. The organizations Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) were founded to advocate on behalf of those stricken with the disease.
By the 1990s crime rates started to drop dramatically due to revised police strategies, improving economic opportunities, gentrification, and new residents, both American transplants and new immigrants from Asia and Latin America. Murder rates that had reached 2,245 in 1990 plummeted to 537 by 2008, and the crack epidemic and its associated drug-related violence came under greater control.Harris, Paul. "How the mean streets of New York were tamed", The Guardian, January 15, 2006. Accessed June 29, 2009. "Alongside the changed tactics came a fall in the crack epidemic that had swept the city in the Eighties. By the Nineties police had driven dealers off the streets, thus reducing drug-related violence.... The figures speak for themselves. In 1990, 2,245 New Yorkers were murdered. Last year the number was 537, the lowest for 40 years." The outflow of population turned around, as the city once again became the destination of immigrants from around the world, joining with low interest rates and Wall Street bonuses to fuel the growth of the real estate market.Hevesi, Dennis. "In Much of the City, A Robust Market", The New York Times, March 16, 1997. Accessed June 29, 2009. Important new sectors, such as Silicon Alley, emerged in Manhattan's economy.
Flooding on Avenue C caused by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012
On September 11, 2001, two of four hijacked planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center, and the towers subsequently collapsed. 7 World Trade Center collapsed due to fires and structural damage caused by heavy debris falling from the collapse of the Twin Towers. The other buildings within the World Trade Center complex were damaged beyond repair and soon after demolished. The collapse of the Twin Towers caused extensive damage to other surrounding buildings and skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan, and resulted in the deaths of 2,606 people, in addition to those on the planes. Since 2001, most of Lower Manhattan has been restored, although there has been controversy surrounding the rebuilding. Many rescue workers and residents of the area developed several life-threatening illnesses that have led to some of their subsequent deaths. A memorial at the site was opened to the public on September 11, 2011, and the museum opened in 2014. In 2014, the new One World Trade Center, at 1776ft and formerly known as the Freedom Tower, became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, while other skyscrapers were under construction at the site.
The Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan began on September 17, 2011, receiving global attention and spawning the Occupy movement against social and economic inequality worldwide.
On October 29 and 30, 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive destruction in the borough, ravaging portions of Lower Manhattan with record-high storm surge from New York Harbor, severe flooding, and high winds, causing power outages for hundreds of thousands of city residents and leading to gasoline shortages and disruption of mass transit systems. The storm and its profound impacts have prompted the discussion of constructing seawalls and other coastal barriers around the shorelines of the borough and the metropolitan area to minimize the risk of destructive consequences from another such event in the future. Around 15 percent of the borough is considered to be in flood-risk zones.
On October 31, 2017, a terrorist took a rental pickup truck and deliberately drove down a bike path alongside the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, killing eight people and injuring a dozen others before crashing into a school bus."New York Terrorist Attack: Truck Driver Kills Eight in Lower Manhattan", NBC News, November 1, 2017. Accessed November 1, 2017.
The borough consists of Manhattan Island, Marble Hill, and several small islands, including Randalls Island and Wards Island, and Roosevelt Island in the East River, and Governors Island and Liberty Island to the south in New York Harbor.New York City Administrative Code Section 2-202 Division into boroughs and boundaries thereof – Division Into Boroughs And Boundaries Thereof., Justia. Accessed November 20, 2016. "The borough of Manhattan shall consist of the territory known as New York county, which shall contain all that part of the city and state, including that portion of land commonly known as Marble Hill and included within the county of New York and borough of Manhattan for all purposes pursuant to chapter nine hundred thirty-nine of the laws of nineteen hundred eighty-four and further including the islands called Manhattan Island, Governor's Island, Bedloe's Island, Ellis Island, Franklin D. Roosevelt Island, Randall's Island and Oyster Island..."
According to the United States Census Bureau, New York County has a total area of 33.6sqmi, of which 22.8sqmi is land and 10.8sqmi (32%) is water. The northern segment of Upper Manhattan represents a geographic panhandle. Manhattan Island is 22.7sqmi in area, 13.4mi long and 2.3mi wide, at its widest (near 14th Street).How New York Works, How Stuff Works. Accessed June 30, 2009. "The island is 22.7sqmi, 13.4mi long and 2.3mi wide (at its widest point)."
Manhattan Island is loosely divided into Downtown (Lower Manhattan), Midtown (Midtown Manhattan), and Uptown (Upper Manhattan), with Fifth Avenue dividing Manhattan's east and west sides. Manhattan Island is bounded by the Hudson River to the west and the East River to the east. To the north, the Harlem River divides Manhattan Island from the Bronx and the mainland United States.
Early in the 19th century, landfill was used to expand Lower Manhattan from the natural Hudson shoreline at Greenwich Street to West Street. When building the World Trade Center in 1968, 1.2 million cubic yards (917,000 m³) of material was excavated from the site. Rather than dumping the spoil at sea or in landfills, the fill material was used to expand the Manhattan shoreline across West Street, creating Battery Park City, The result was a 700-foot (210-m) extension into the river, running six blocks or 1484ft, covering 92acre, providing a 1.2mi riverfront esplanade and over 30acre of parks;ASLA 2003 The Landmark Award, American Society of Landscape Architects. Accessed May 17, 2007. Hudson River Park was subsequently opened in stages beginning in 1998.
One neighborhood of New York County, Marble Hill, is contiguous with the U.S. mainland. Marble Hill at one time was part of Manhattan Island, but the Harlem River Ship Canal, dug in 1895 to improve navigation on the Harlem River, separated it from the remainder of Manhattan as an island between the Bronx and the remainder of Manhattan. Before World War I, the section of the original Harlem River channel separating Marble Hill from The Bronx was filled in, and Marble Hill became part of the mainland.
Marble Hill is one example of how Manhattan's land has been considerably altered by human intervention. The borough has seen substantial land reclamation along its waterfronts since Dutch colonial times, and much of the natural variation in its topography has been evened out.
In New York Harbor, there are three smaller islands:
Other smaller islands, in the East River, include (from north to south):
Manhattan schist outcropping in Central Park
The bedrock underlying much of Manhattan is a mica schist known as Manhattan schistThe fact that the immediate layer of bedrock in the Bronx is Fordham gneiss, while that of Manhattan is schist has led to the expression: "The Bronx is gneiss (nice) but Manhattan is schist." of the Manhattan Prong physiographic region. It is a strong, competent metamorphic rock that was created when Pangaea formed. It is well suited for the foundations of tall buildings. In Central Park, outcrops of Manhattan Schist occur and Rat Rock is one rather large example.Manhattan Schist in Bennett Park John H. Betts The Minerals of New York City originally published in Rocks & Minerals magazine, Volume 84, No. 3 pages 204–252 (2009).
Geologically, a predominant feature of the substrata of Manhattan is that the underlying bedrock base of the island rises considerably closer to the surface near Midtown Manhattan, dips down lower between 29th Street and Canal Street, then rises toward the surface again in Lower Manhattan. It has been widely believed that the depth to bedrock was the primary underlying reason for the clustering of skyscrapers in the Midtown and Financial District areas, and their absence over the intervening territory between these two areas. However, research has shown that economic factors played a bigger part in the locations of these skyscrapers.Barr, Jason; Tassier, Troy; and Trendafilov, Rossen. "Depth to Bedrock and the Formation of the Manhattan Skyline, 1890–1915", The Journal of Economic History, December 2011 – Volume 71, Issue 04. Accessed August 3, 2016.
Updated seismic analysis
According to the United States Geological Survey, an updated analysis of seismic hazard in July 2014 revealed a "slightly lower hazard for tall buildings" in Manhattan than previously assessed. Scientists estimated this lessened risk based upon a lower likelihood than previously thought of slow shaking near New York City, which would be more likely to cause damage to taller structures from an earthquake in the vicinity of the city.
Liberty Island is an exclave of Manhattan, of New York City, and of New York State, that is surrounded by New Jersey waters
- Bergen County, New Jersey—west and northwest
- Hudson County, New Jersey—west and southwest
- Bronx County (The Bronx)—north and northeast
- Queens County (Queens)—east
- Kings County (Brooklyn)—south and southeast
- Richmond County (Staten Island)—southwest
National protected areas
The Empire State Building in the foreground looking southward from the top of Rockefeller Center, with One World Trade Center in the background, at sunset. The Midtown South Community Council acts as a civic caretaker for much of the neighborhood between the skyscrapers of Midtown and Lower Manhattan.
Manhattan's many neighborhoods are not named according to any particular convention. Some are geographical (the Upper East Side), or ethnically descriptive (Little Italy). Others are acronyms, such as TriBeCa (for "TRIangle BElow CAnal Street") or SoHo ("SOuth of HOuston"), or the far more recent vintages NoLIta ("NOrth of Little ITAly"). and NoMad ("NOrth of MADison Square Park"). Harlem is a name from the Dutch colonial era after Haarlem, a city in the Netherlands. Alphabet City comprises Avenues A, B, C, and D, to which its name refers. Some have simple folkloric names, such as Hell's Kitchen, alongside their more official but lesser used title (in this case, Clinton).
Some neighborhoods, such as SoHo, which is mixed use, are known for upscale shopping as well as residential use. Others, such as Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, Alphabet City and the East Village, have long been associated with the Bohemian subculture. Chelsea is one of several Manhattan neighborhoods with large gay populations and has become a center of both the international art industry and New York's nightlife. Washington Heights is a primary destination for immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Chinatown has the highest concentration of people of Chinese descent outside of Asia. Koreatown is roughly bounded by 6th and Madison Avenues, between 31st and 33rd Streets, where Hangul (한글) signage is ubiquitous. Rose Hill features a growing number of Indian restaurants and spice shops along a stretch of Lexington Avenue between 25th and 30th Streets which has become known as Curry Hill.
In Manhattan, uptown means north (more precisely north-northeast, which is the direction the island and its street grid system are oriented) and downtown means south (south-southwest). This usage differs from that of most American cities, where downtown refers to the central business district. Manhattan has two central business districts, the Financial District at the southern tip of the island, and Midtown Manhattan. The term uptown also refers to the northern part of Manhattan above 72nd Street and downtown to the southern portion below 14th Street, with Midtown covering the area in between, though definitions can be rather fluid depending on the situation.
Fifth Avenue roughly bisects Manhattan Island and acts as the demarcation line for east/west designations (e.g., East 27th Street, West 42nd Street); street addresses start at Fifth Avenue and increase heading away from Fifth Avenue, at a rate of 100 per block on most streets. South of Waverly Place, Fifth Avenue terminates and Broadway becomes the east/west demarcation line. Although the grid does start with 1st Street, just north of Houston Street (the southernmost street divided in west and east portions; pronounced HOW-stin), the grid does not fully take hold until north of 14th Street, where nearly all east-west streets are numerically identified, which increase from south to north to 220th Street, the highest numbered street on the island. Streets in Midtown are usually one-way, with the few exceptions generally being the busiest cross-town thoroughfares (14th, 23rd, 34th, and 42nd Streets, for example), which are bidirectional across the width of Manhattan Island. The rule of thumb is that odd-numbered streets run west, while even-numbered streets run east.
Under the Köppen climate classification, using the 0°C isotherm, New York City features a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), and is thus the northernmost major city on the North American continent with this categorization. The suburbs to the immediate north and west lie in the transitional zone between humid subtropical and humid continental climates (Dfa). The city averages 234 days with at least some sunshine annually. The city lies in the USDA 7b plant hardiness zone.
Winters are cold and damp, and prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore temper the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean; yet the Atlantic and the partial shielding from colder air by the Appalachians keep the city warmer in the winter than inland North American cities at similar or lesser latitudes such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. The daily mean temperature in January, the area's coldest month, is 32.6°F; temperatures usually drop to 10°F several times per winter, and reach 60°F several days in the coldest winter month. Spring and autumn are unpredictable and can range from chilly to warm, although they are usually mild with low humidity. Summers are typically warm to hot and humid, with a daily mean temperature of 76.5°F in July. Nighttime conditions are often exacerbated by the urban heat island phenomenon, while daytime temperatures exceed 90°F on average of 17 days each summer and in some years exceed 100°F. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −15°F, recorded on February 9, 1934, up to 106°F on July 9, 1936.
Summer evening temperatures are elevated by the urban heat island effect, which causes heat absorbed during the day to be radiated back at night, raising temperatures by as much as 7F-change when winds are slow. Manhattan receives 49.9in of precipitation annually, which is relatively evenly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall between 1981 and 2010 has been 25.8in; this varies considerably from year to year.
Landmarks and architecture
A. T. Stewart in 1870, 9th Street, Manhattan
Broadway and the Theater District surrounding Times Square, Central Park, Chinatown, the Chrysler Building, Columbia University, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, Fulton Center, Grand Central Terminal, Harlem, the High Line, Koreatown, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Little Italy, Madison Square Garden, Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue, the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, New York University and the Washington Square Arch in Greenwich Village, One World Trade Center, Penn Station, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, Stonewall Inn, Trump Tower, gateways to numerous iconic river-crossing bridges, and an emerging number of supertall skyscrapers, are all located on densely populated Manhattan Island; the Statue of Liberty rests on a pedestal on Liberty Island, an exclave of Manhattan. The borough has many energy-efficient green office buildings, such as the Hearst Tower, the rebuilt 7 World Trade Center, and the Bank of America Tower—the first skyscraper designed to attain a Platinum LEED Certification.
The skyscraper, which has shaped Manhattan's distinctive skyline, has been closely associated with New York City's identity since the end of the 19th century. From 1890 to 1973, the title of world's tallest building resided continually in Manhattan (with a gap between 1901 and 1908, when the title was held by Philadelphia City Hall), with nine different buildings holding the title.McKinley, Jesse. "F.Y.I.: Tall, Taller. Tallest", The New York Times, November 5, 1995. p. CY2. Accessed June 30, 2009. The New York World Building on Park Row, was the first to take the title in 1890, standing 309ft until 1955, when it was demolished to construct a new ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge."Big Span Project Initiated by City; Manhattan Plaza of Brooklyn Bridge Would Be Rebuilt to Cope With Traffic Increase COST IS PUT AT $6,910,000 Demolition Program is Set – Street System in the Area Also Faces Rearranging", The New York Times, July 24, 1954. p. 15. The nearby Park Row Building, with its 29 stories standing 391ft high took the title in 1899.Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes/The Park Row Building, 15 Park Row; An 1899 'Monster' That Reigned High Over the City", The New York Times, March 12, 2000. Accessed June 30, 2009. The 41-story Singer Building, constructed in 1908 as the headquarters of the eponymous sewing machine manufacturer, stood 612ft high until 1967, when it became the tallest building ever demolished.Gray, Christopher. " Streetscapes/Singer Building; Once the Tallest Building, But Since 1967 a Ghost", The New York Times, January 2, 2005. Accessed May 15, 2007. "The 41-story Singer Building, the tallest in the world in 1908 when it was completed at Broadway and Liberty Street, was, until September 11, 2001, the tallest structure ever to be demolished. The building, an elegant Beaux-Arts tower, was one of the most painful losses of the early preservation movement when it was razed in 1967.... Begun in 1906, the Singer Building incorporated Flagg's model for a city of towers, with the 1896 structure reconstructed as the base, and a 65-foot-square shaft rising 612ft high, culminating in a bulbous mansard and giant lantern at the peak." The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, standing 700ft at the foot of Madison Avenue, wrested the title in 1909, with a tower reminiscent of St Mark's Campanile in Venice.Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes/Metropolitan Life at 1 Madison Avenue; For a Brief Moment, the Tallest Building in the World", The New York Times, May 26, 1996. Accessed June 30, 2009. The Woolworth Building, and its distinctive Gothic architecture, took the title in 1913, topping off at 792ft.Dunlap, David W. "Condos to Top Vaunted Tower Of Woolworth", The New York Times, November 2, 2000. Accessed June 30, 2009. Structures such as the Equitable Building of 1915, which rises vertically forty stories from the sidewalk, prompted the passage of the 1916 Zoning Resolution, requiring new buildings to withdraw progressively at a defined angle from the street as they rose, in order to preserve a view of the sky at street level.
The Roaring Twenties saw a race to the sky, with three separate buildings pursuing the world's tallest title in the span of a year. As the stock market soared in the days before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, two developers publicly competed for the crown."Denies Altering Plans for Tallest Building; Starrett Says Height of Bank of Manhattan Structure Was Not Increased to Beat Chrysler.", The New York Times, October 20, 1929. p. 14. At 927ft, 40 Wall Street, completed in May 1930 in only eleven months as the headquarters of the Bank of Manhattan, seemed to have secured the title."Bank of Manhattan Built in Record Time; Structure 927ft High, Second Tallest in World, Is Erected in Year of Work.", The New York Times, May 6, 1930. p. 53. At Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street, auto executive Walter Chrysler and his architect William Van Alen developed plans to build the structure's trademark 185ft spire in secret, pushing the Chrysler Building to 1046ft and making it the tallest in the world when it was completed in 1929.Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes: The Chrysler Building; Skyscraper's Place in the Sun", The New York Times, December 17, 1995. Accessed June 30, 2009. "Then Chrysler and Van Alen again revised the design, this time in order to win a height competition with the 921ft tower then rising at 40 Wall Street. This was done in secret, using as a staging area the huge square fire-tower shaft, intended to vent smoke from the stairways. Inside the shaft, Van Alen had teams of workers assemble the framework for a 185-foot spire that, when lifted into place in the fall of 1929, made the Chrysler building, at 1046 feet, 4.75 inches high, the tallest in the world." Both buildings were soon surpassed with the May 1931 completion of the 102-story Empire State Building with its Art Deco tower reaching 1250ft at the top of the building. The 203ft high pinnacle was later added bringing the total height of the building to 1453ft."Rivalry for Height is Seen as Ended; Empire State's Record to Stand for Many Years, Builders and Realty Men Say. Practical Limit Reached; Its Top Rises 1250ft, but Staff Carrying Instruments Extends Pinnacle to 1265.5 Feet.", The New York Times, May 2, 1931. p. 7.Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes: The Empire State Building; A Red Reprise for a '31 Wonder", The New York Times, June 14, 1992. Accessed June 30, 2009.
The former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were located in Lower Manhattan. At 1368 and 1362ft, the 110-story buildings were the world's tallest from 1972 until they were surpassed by the construction of the Willis Tower in 1974 (formerly known as the Sears Tower, located in Chicago).Barss, Karen. "The History of Skyscrapers: A race to the top", Information Please. Accessed May 17, 2007. "The Empire State Building would reign supreme among skyscrapers for 41 years until 1972, when it was surpassed by the World Trade Center (1,368 feet, 110 stories). Two years later, New York City lost the distinction of housing the tallest building when the Willis Tower was constructed in Chicago (1450 feet, 110 stories)." One World Trade Center, a replacement for the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, is currently the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1961, the Pennsylvania Railroad unveiled plans to tear down the old Penn Station and replace it with a new Madison Square Garden and office building complex. Organized protests were aimed at preserving the McKim, Mead & White-designed structure completed in 1910, widely considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style and one of the architectural jewels of New York City.Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes/'The Destruction of Penn Station'; A 1960s Protest That Tried to Save a Piece of the Past", The New York Times, May 20, 2001. Accessed June 30, 2009. Despite these efforts, demolition of the structure began in October 1963. The loss of Penn Station—called "an act of irresponsible public vandalism" by historian Lewis Mumford—led directly to the enactment in 1965 of a local law establishing the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is responsible for preserving the "city's historic, aesthetic, and cultural heritage".About the Landmarks Preservation Commission, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Accessed November 20, 2016. The historic preservation movement triggered by Penn Station's demise has been credited with the retention of some one million structures nationwide, including nearly 1,000 in New York City."Requiem For Penn Station", CBS News, October 13, 2002. Accessed May 17, 2007. In 2017, a multibillion-dollar rebuilding plan was unveiled to restore the historic grandeur of Penn Station, in the process of upgrading the landmark's status as a critical transportation hub.
Parkland composes 17.8% of the borough, covering a total of 2686acre. Central Park is bordered on the north by West 110th Street, on the west by Eighth Avenue, on the south by West 59th Street, and on the east by Fifth Avenue. Along the park's borders, these streets are usually referred to as Central Park North, Central Park West, and Central Park South, respectively (Fifth Avenue retains its name along the eastern border). The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The 843acre park offers extensive walking tracks, two ice-skating rinks, a wildlife sanctuary, and grassy areas used for various sporting pursuits, as well as playgrounds for children. The park is a popular oasis for migrating birds, and thus is popular with bird watchers. The 6mi road circling the park is popular with joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters, especially on weekends and in the evenings after 7:00 pm, when automobile traffic is banned.Central Park General Information, Central Park Conservancy. Accessed September 21, 2006. While much of the park looks natural, it is almost entirely landscaped and contains several artificial lakes. The construction of Central Park in the 1850s was one of the era's most massive public works projects. Some 20,000 workers crafted the topography to create the English-style pastoral landscape Olmsted and Vaux sought to create. Workers moved nearly 3000000cuyd of soil and planted more than 270,000 trees and shrubs.Central Park History, Central Park Conservancy. Accessed September 21, 2006.
Almost 70% of Manhattan's space devoted to parks is located outside of Central Park, including 204 playgrounds, 251 Greenstreets, 371 basketball courts, and many other amenities. The African Burial Ground National Monument at Duane Street preserves a site containing the remains of over 400 Africans buried during the 17th and 18th centuries. The remains were found in 1991 during the construction of the Foley Square Federal Office Building.
Culture and contemporary life
alt=The corner of a lit up plaza with a fountain in the center and the ends of two brightly lit buildings with tall arches on the square
Nils Olander from Panoramio
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Manhattan is the borough most closely associated with New York City by non-residents; regionally, residents within the New York City metropolitan area, including natives of New York City's boroughs outside Manhattan, will often describe a trip to Manhattan as "going to the City".Purdum, Todd S. "Political memo; An Embattled City Hall Moves to Brooklyn", The New York Times, February 22, 1992. Accessed June 30, 2009. ""Leaders in all of them fear that recent changes in the City Charter that shifted power from the borough presidents to the City Council have diminished government's recognition of the sense of identity that leads people to say they live in the Bronx, and to describe visiting Manhattan as 'going to the city.'" Journalist Walt Whitman characterized the streets of Manhattan as being traversed by "hurrying, feverish, electric crowds".
Manhattan has been the scene of many important American cultural movements. In 1912, about 20,000 workers, a quarter of them women, marched upon Washington Square Park to commemorate the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 workers on March 25, 1911. Many of the women wore fitted tucked-front blouses like those manufactured by the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, a clothing style that became the working woman's uniform and a symbol of women's liberation, reflecting the alliance of labor and suffrage movements.The Triangle Factory Fire, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Accessed April 25, 2007.
The Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s established the African-American literary canon in the United States and introduced writers Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Manhattan's vibrant visual art scene in the 1950s and 1960s was a center of the American pop art movement, which gave birth to such giants as Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. The downtown pop art movement of the late 1970s included artist Andy Warhol and clubs like Serendipity 3 and Studio 54, where he socialized.
Broadway theatre is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. Plays and musicals are staged in one of the 39 larger professional theatres with at least 500 seats, almost all in and around Times Square.Weber, Bruce. "Critic's Notebook: Theater's Promise? Look Off Broadway", The New York Times, July 2, 2003. Accessed May 29, 2007. "It's also true that what constitutes Broadway is easy to delineate; it's a universe of 39 specified theaters, which all have at least 500 seats. Off Broadway is generally considered to comprise theaters from 99 to 499 seats (anything less is thought of as Off Off), which ostensibly determines the union contracts for actors, directors and press agents." Off-Broadway theatres feature productions in venues with 100–500 seats.Theatre 101, Theatre Development Fund. Accessed May 29, 2007. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, anchoring Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is home to 12 influential arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet, as well as the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the Juilliard School, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Alice Tully Hall. Performance artists displaying diverse skills are ubiquitous on the streets of Manhattan.
Manhattan is also home to some of the most extensive art collections in the world, both contemporary and classical art, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Frick Collection, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum. The Upper East Side has many art galleries, and the downtown neighborhood of Chelsea is known for its more than 200 art galleries that are home to modern art from both upcoming and established artists."Stylish Traveler: Chelsea Girls", Travel + Leisure, September 2005. Accessed May 14, 2007. "With more than 200 galleries, Chelsea has plenty of variety.""City Planning Begins Public Review for West Chelsea Rezoning to Permit Housing Development and Create Mechanism for Preserving and Creating Access to the High Line", New York City Department of City Planning press release dated December 20, 2004. Accessed May 29, 2007. "Some 200 galleries have opened their doors in recent years, making West Chelsea a destination for art lovers from around the City and the world." Many of the world's most lucrative art auctions are held in Manhattan.
Manhattan is the center of LGBT culture in New York City. The borough is widely acclaimed as the cradle of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, with its inception at the June 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan – widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States. Multiple gay villages have developed, spanning the length of the borough from the Lower East Side, East Village, and Greenwich Village, through Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, uptown to Morningside Heights. The annual New York City Pride March (or gay pride parade) traverses southward down Fifth Avenue and ends at Greenwich Village; the Manhattan parade rivals the Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade as the largest pride parade in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants and millions of sidewalk spectators each June.
The borough has a place in several American idioms. The phrase New York minute is meant to convey an extremely short time such as an instant, sometimes in hyperbolic form, as in "perhaps faster than you would believe is possible," referring to the rapid pace of life in Manhattan. The expression "melting pot" was first popularly coined to describe the densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side in Israel Zangwill's play The Melting Pot, which was an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set by Zangwill in New York City in 1908."The Melting Pot", The First Measured Century, Public Broadcasting Service. Accessed April 25, 2007. The iconic Flatiron Building is said to have been the source of the phrase "23 skidoo" or scram, from what cops would shout at men who tried to get glimpses of women's dresses being blown up by the winds created by the triangular building.Dolkart, Andrew S. "The Architecture and Development of New York City: The Birth of the Skyscraper – Romantic Symbols", Columbia University. Accessed May 15, 2007. "It is at a triangular site where Broadway and Fifth Avenue—the two most important streets of New York—meet at Madison Square, and because of the juxtaposition of the streets and the park across the street, there was a wind-tunnel effect here. In the early twentieth century, men would hang out on the corner here on Twenty-third Street and watch the wind blowing women's dresses up so that they could catch a little bit of ankle. This entered into popular culture and there are hundreds of postcards and illustrations of women with their dresses blowing up in front of the Flatiron Building. And it supposedly is where the slang expression "23 skidoo" comes from because the police would come and give the voyeurs the 23 skidoo to tell them to get out of the area." The "Big Apple" dates back to the 1920s, when a reporter heard the term used by New Orleans stablehands to refer to New York City's horse racetracks and named his racing column "Around The Big Apple." Jazz musicians adopted the term to refer to the city as the world's jazz capital, and a 1970s ad campaign by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau helped popularize the term."Mayor Giuliani signs legislation creating "Big Apple Corner" in Manhattan", New York City press release dated February 12, 1997. Manhattan, Kansas, a city of 53,000 people, was named by New York investors after the borough and is nicknamed the "little apple".
Manhattan is well known for its street parades, which celebrate a broad array of themes, including holidays, nationalities, human rights, and major league sports team championship victories. The majority of higher profile parades in New York City are held in Manhattan. The primary orientation of the annual street parades is typically from north to south, marching along major avenues. The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the world's largest parade, beginning alongside Central Park and processing southward to the flagship Macy's Herald Square store; the parade is viewed on telecasts worldwide and draws millions of spectators in person. Other notable parades including the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in March, the New York City Pride Parade in June, the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in October, and numerous parades commemorating the independence days of many nations. Ticker-tape parades celebrating championships won by sports teams as well as other heroic accomplishments march northward along the Canyon of Heroes on Broadway from Bowling Green to City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan. New York Fashion Week, held at various locations in Manhattan, is a high-profile semiannual event featuring models displaying the latest wardrobes created by prominent fashion designers worldwide in advance of these fashions proceeding to the retail marketplace.
Madison Square Garden is home to the Rangers and Knicks, and hosts some Liberty games
Manhattan is home to the NBA's New York Knicks and the NHL's New York Rangers, both of which play their home games at Madison Square Garden, the only major professional sports arena in the borough. The Garden was also home to the WNBA's New York Liberty through the 2017 season, but that team's primary home is now the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York. The New York Jets proposed a West Side Stadium for their home field, but the proposal was eventually defeated in June 2005, and they now play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Manhattan is the only borough in New York City that does not have a professional baseball franchise. The Bronx has the Yankees (American League) and Queens has the Mets (National League) of Major League Baseball. The Minor League Baseball Brooklyn Cyclones, affiliated with the Mets, play in Brooklyn, while the Staten Island Yankees, affiliated with the Yankees, play in Staten Island. However, three of the four major league baseball teams to play in New York City played in Manhattan. The original New York Giants baseball team played in the various incarnations of the Polo Grounds at 155th Street and Eighth Avenue from their inception in 1883—except for 1889, when they split their time between Jersey City and Staten Island, and when they played in Hilltop Park in 1911—until they headed to California with the Brooklyn Dodgers after the 1957 season.Giants Ballparks: 1883 – present, MLB.com. Accessed May 8, 2007. The New York Yankees began their franchise as the Highlanders, named for Hilltop Park, where they played from their creation in 1903 until 1912. The team moved to the Polo Grounds with the 1913 season, where they were officially christened the New York Yankees, remaining there until they moved across the Harlem River in 1923 to Yankee Stadium.Yankee Ballparks: 1903 – present, MLB.com. Accessed May 8, 2007. The New York Mets played in the Polo Grounds in 1962 and 1963, their first two seasons, before Shea Stadium was completed in 1964.Mets Ballparks: 1962 – present, MLB.com. Accessed May 8, 2007. After the Mets departed, the Polo Grounds was demolished in April 1964, replaced by public housing.Drebinger, John. "The Polo Grounds, 1889–1964: A Lifetime of Memories; Ball Park in Harlem Was Scene of Many Sports Thrills", The New York Times, January 5, 1964. p. S3.Arnold, Martin. "Ah, Polo Grounds, The Game is Over; Wreckers Begin Demolition for Housing Project", The New York Times, April 11, 1964. p. 27.
The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city.History of the National Invitation Tournament, National Invitation Tournament. Accessed May 8, 2007. "Tradition. The NIT is steeped in it. The nation's oldest postseason collegiate basketball tournament was founded in 1938." The New York Knicks started play in 1946 as one of the National Basketball Association's original teams, playing their first home games at the 69th Regiment Armory, before making Madison Square Garden their permanent home.The Knickerbocker Story, NBA.com. Accessed November 20, 2016. The New York Liberty of the WNBA shared the Garden with the Knicks from their creation in 1997 as one of the league's original eight teams through the 2017 season,The New York Liberty Story, Women's National Basketball Association. Accessed May 8, 2007. after which the team moved nearly all of its home schedule to White Plains. Rucker Park in Harlem is a playground court, famed for its streetball style of play, where many NBA athletes have played in the summer league.Rucker Park, ThinkQuest New York City. Accessed June 30, 2009.
Although both of New York City's football teams play today across the Hudson River in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, both teams started out playing in the Polo Grounds. The New York Giants played side-by-side with their baseball namesakes from the time they entered the National Football League in 1925, until crossing over to Yankee Stadium in 1956."Home Sweet Home", Pro Football Hall of Fame, September 10, 2010. Accessed November 20, 2016. "The Giants shared the Polo Grounds with the New York Baseball Giants from the time they entered the league in 1925 until 1955." The New York Jets, originally known as the Titans of New York, started out in 1960 at the Polo Grounds, staying there for four seasons before joining the Mets in Queens at Shea Stadium in 1964.Stadiums of The NFL: Shea Stadium, Stadiums of the NFL. Accessed May 8, 2007.
The New York Rangers of the National Hockey League have played in the various locations of Madison Square Garden since the team's founding in the 1926–1927 season. The Rangers were predated by the New York Americans, who started play in the Garden the previous season, lasting until the team folded after the 1941–1942 NHL season, a season it played in the Garden as the Brooklyn Americans.New York Americans, Sports Encyclopedia. Accessed May 8, 2007.
The New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League played their home games at Downing Stadium for two seasons, starting in 1974. The playing pitch and facilities at Downing Stadium were in unsatisfactory condition, however, and as the team's popularity grew they too left for Yankee Stadium, and then Giants Stadium. The stadium was demolished in 2002 to make way for the $45 million, 4,754-seat Icahn Stadium, which includes an Olympic-standard 400-meter running track and, as part of Pelé's and the Cosmos' legacy, includes a FIFA-approved floodlit soccer stadium that hosts matches between the 48 youth teams of a Manhattan soccer club.Collins, Glenn. "Built for Speed, And Local Pride; Track Stadium Emerges On Randalls Island", The New York Times, August 20, 2004. Accessed June 30, 2009."Mayor Michael Bloomberk, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and the Randall's Island Sports Foundation Name New York City's Newest Athletic Facility Icahn Stadium", Mayor of New York City press release, dated January 28, 2004. Accessed September 24, 2007.
Row of townhouses on 17–23 West 16th Street
Beyond My Ken
CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0
During Manhattan's early history, wood construction and poor access to water supplies left the city vulnerable to fires. In 1776, shortly after the Continental Army evacuated Manhattan and left it to the British, a massive fire broke out destroying one-third of the city and some 500 houses.
The rise of immigration near the turn of the 20th century left major portions of Manhattan, especially the Lower East Side, densely packed with recent arrivals, crammed into unhealthy and unsanitary housing. Tenements were usually five stories high, constructed on the then-typical 25by lots, with "cockroach landlords" exploiting the new immigrants. By 1929, stricter fire codes and the increased use of elevators in residential buildings, were the impetus behind a new housing code that effectively ended the tenement as a form of new construction, though many tenement buildings survive today on the East Side of the borough.
Manhattan offers a wide array of public and private housing options. There were 852,575 housing units in 2013 at an average density of 37,345 per square mile (14,419/km²)., only 20.3% of Manhattan residents lived in owner-occupied housing, the second-lowest rate of all counties in the nation, behind the Bronx. Although the city of New York has the highest average cost for rent in the United States, it simultaneously hosts a higher average of income per capita. Because of this, rent is a lower percentage of annual income than in several other American cities.
Manhattan's real estate market for luxury housing continues to be among the most expensive in the world, and Manhattan residential property continues to have the highest sale price per square foot in the United States.
Grand Central Terminal is a National Historic Landmark.
Manhattan is unique in the U.S. for intense use of public transportation and lack of private car ownership. While 88% of Americans nationwide drive to their jobs, with only 5% using public transport, mass transit is the dominant form of travel for residents of Manhattan, with 72% of borough residents using public transport to get to work, while only 18% drove.Highlights of the 2001 National Household Travel Survey, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, United States Department of Transportation. Accessed May 21, 2006."New York City Pedestrian Level of Service Study – Phase I, 2006", New York City Department of City Planning, April 2006, p. 4. Accessed May 17, 2007. "In the year 2000, 88% of workers over 16 years old in the U.S. used a car, truck or van to commute to work, while approximately 5% used public transportation and 3% walked to work.... In Manhattan, the borough with the highest population density (66,940 people/sq mi. in year 2000; 1,564,798 inhabitants) and concentration of business and tourist destinations, only 18% of the working population drove to work in 2000, while 72% used public transportation and 8% walked." According to the 2000 United States Census, 77.5% of Manhattan households do not own a car.
In 2008, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a congestion pricing system to regulate entering Manhattan south of 60th Street. The state legislature rejected the proposal in June 2008.
The New York City Subway, the largest subway system in the world by number of stations, is the primary means of travel within the city, linking every borough except Staten Island. There are 151 subway stations in Manhattan, out of the stations. A second subway, the PATH system, connects six stations in Manhattan to northern New Jersey. Passengers pay fares with pay-per-ride MetroCards, which are valid on all city buses and subways, as well as on PATH trains. There are 7-day and 30-day MetroCards that allow unlimited trips on all subways (except PATH) and MTA bus routes (except for express buses).Metrocard, Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Accessed May 11, 2007. The PATH QuickCard is being phased out, having been replaced by the SmartLink. The MTA is testing "smart card" payment systems to replace the MetroCard.PATH Frequently Asked Questions, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Accessed April 28, 2007. "PATH will phase out QuickCard once the SmartLink Fare Card is introduced." Commuter rail services operating to and from Manhattan are the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), which connects Manhattan and other New York City boroughs to Long Island; the Metro-North Railroad, which connects Manhattan to Upstate New York and Southwestern Connecticut; and NJ Transit trains, which run to various points in New Jersey.
The US$11.1 billion East Side Access project, which will bring LIRR trains to Grand Central Terminal, is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2022; this project will create a new train tunnel beneath the East River, connecting the East Side of Manhattan with Long Island City, Queens. Four multi-billion-dollar projects were completed in the mid-2010s: the $1.4 billion Fulton Center in November 2014, the $2.4 billion 7 Subway Extension in September 2015, the $4 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub in March 2016, and Phase 1 of the $4.5 billion Second Avenue Subway in January 2017.
MTA New York City Transit offers a wide variety of local buses within Manhattan under the brand New York City Bus. An extensive network of express bus routes serves commuters and other travelers heading into Manhattan. The bus system served 784 million passengers citywide in 2011, placing the bus system's ridership as the highest in the nation, and more than double the ridership of the second-place Los Angeles system.Bus Facts, Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Accessed July 15, 2016.
The Roosevelt Island Tramway, one of two commuter cable car systems in North America, whisks commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan in less than five minutes, and has been serving the island since 1978. (The other system in North America is the Portland Aerial Tram.)Lee, Jennifer 8. "Midair Rescue Lifts Passengers From Stranded East River Tram", The New York Times, April 19, 2006. Accessed February 28, 2008. "The system, which calls itself the only aerial commuter tram in the country, has been featured in movies including City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal; Nighthawks, with Sylvester Stallone; and Spider-Man in 2002."The Roosevelt Island Tram, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. Accessed April 30, 2007.
The Staten Island Ferry, which runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, annually carries over 21 million passengers on the 5.2mi run between Manhattan and Staten Island. Each weekday, five vessels transport about 65,000 passengers on 109 boat trips.Facts About the Ferry, New York City Department of Transportation. Accessed August 28, 2012. "On a typical weekday, five boats make 109 trips, carrying approximately 65,000 passengers. During rush hours, the ferry runs on a four-boat schedule, with 15 minutes between departures."An Assessment of Staten Island Ferry Service and Recommendations for Improvement (PDF), New York City Council, November 2004. Accessed April 28, 2007. "Of the current fleet of seven vessels, five boats make 104 trips on a typical weekday schedule". The ferry has been fare-free since 1997, when the then-50-cent fare was eliminated.Holloway, Lynette. "Mayor to End 50-Cent Fare On S.I. Ferry", The New York Times, April 29, 1997. Accessed June 30, 2009. "Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said yesterday that he would eliminate the 50-cent fare on the Staten Island Ferry starting July 4, saying people who live outside Manhattan should not have to pay extra to travel." In February 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city government would begin NYC Ferry to extend ferry transportation to traditionally underserved communities in the city. The first routes of NYC Ferry opened in 2017. All of the system's routes have termini in Manhattan, and the Lower East Side and Soundview routes also have intermediate stops on the East River.
The metro region's commuter rail lines converge at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, on the west and east sides of Midtown Manhattan, respectively. They are the two busiest rail stations in the United States. About one-third of users of mass transit and two-thirds of railway passengers in the country live in New York and its suburbs.The MTA Network, Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Accessed November 20, 2016. Amtrak provides inter-city passenger rail service from Penn Station to Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.; Upstate New York and New England; cross-Canadian border service to Toronto and Montreal; and destinations in the Southern and Midwestern United States.
New York's iconic yellow taxicabs, which number 13,087 city-wide and must have the requisite medallion authorizing the pick up of street hails, are ubiquitous in the borough. Various private transportation network companies provide significant competition for cab drivers in Manhattan.
Manhattan also has tens of thousands of bicycle commuters.
Streets and roads
The Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground and the Manhattan Bridge beyond it, are two of the three bridges that connect Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn over the East River.
The Commissioners' Plan of 1811 called for twelve numbered avenues running north and south roughly parallel to the shore of the Hudson River, each 100ft wide, with First Avenue on the east side and Twelfth Avenue on the west side. There are several intermittent avenues east of First Avenue, including four additional lettered avenues running from Avenue A eastward to Avenue D in an area now known as Alphabet City in Manhattan's East Village. The numbered streets in Manhattan run east-west, and are generally 60ft wide, with about 200ft between each pair of streets. With each combined street and block adding up to about 260ft, there are almost exactly 20 blocks per mile. The typical block in Manhattan is 250 by 600ft.
According to the original Commissioner's Plan, there were 155 numbered crosstown streets,Are Manhattan's Right Angles Wrong, by Christopher Gray but later the grid was extended up to the northernmost corner of Manhattan, where the last numbered street is 220th Street. Moreover, the numbering system continues even in The Bronx, north of Manhattan, despite the fact that the grid plan is not as regular in that borough, whose last numbered street is 263rd Street. Fifteen crosstown streets were designated as 100ft wide, including 34th, 42nd, 57th and 125th Streets,Remarks of the Commissioners for laying out streets and roads in the City of New York, under the Act of April 3, 1807, Cornell University. Accessed May 2, 2007. "These streets are all sixty feet wide except fifteen, which are one hundred feet wide, viz.: Numbers fourteen, twenty-three, thirty-four, forty-two, fifty-seven, seventy-two, seventy-nine, eighty-six, ninety-six, one hundred and six, one hundred and sixteen, one hundred and twenty-five, one hundred and thirty-five, one hundred and forty-five, and one hundred and fifty-five—the block or space between them being in general about two hundred feet." which became some of the borough's most significant transportation and shopping venues. Broadway is the most notable of many exceptions to the grid, starting at Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan and continuing north into the Bronx at Manhattan's northern tip. In much of Midtown Manhattan, Broadway runs at a diagonal to the grid, creating major named intersections at Union Square (Park Avenue South/Fourth Avenue and 14th Street), Madison Square (Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street), Herald Square (Sixth Avenue and 34th Street), Times Square (Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street), and Columbus Circle (Eighth Avenue/Central Park West and 59th Street).
"Crosstown traffic" refers primarily to vehicular traffic between Manhattan's East Side and West Side. The trip is notoriously frustrating for drivers because of heavy congestion on narrow local streets laid out by the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, absence of express roads other than the Trans-Manhattan Expressway at the far north end of Manhattan Island; and restricted to very limited crosstown automobile travel within Central Park, further prohibited beginning in 2018 south of 72nd Street within the park, to augment pedestrian safety. Proposals in the mid-1900s to build express roads through the city's densest neighborhoods, namely the Mid-Manhattan Expressway and Lower Manhattan Expressway, did not go forward. Unlike the rest of the United States, New York State prohibits right or left turns on red in cities with a population greater than one million, to reduce traffic collisions and increase pedestrian safety. In New York City, therefore, all turns at red lights are illegal unless a sign permitting such maneuvers is present, significantly shaping traffic patterns in Manhattan.
Another consequence of the strict grid plan of most of Manhattan, and the grid's skew of approximately 28.9 degrees, is a phenomenon sometimes referred to as Manhattanhenge (by analogy with Stonehenge). On separate occasions in late May and early July, the sunset is aligned with the street grid lines, with the result that the sun is visible at or near the western horizon from street level. A similar phenomenon occurs with the sunrise in January and December.
The FDR Drive and Harlem River Drive, both designed by controversial New York master planner Robert Moses,Kennicott, Philip. "A Builder Who Went to Town: Robert Moses Shaped Modern New York, for Better and for Worse", The Washington Post, March 11, 2007. Accessed April 30, 2007. "The list of his accomplishments is astonishing: seven bridges, 15 expressways, 16 parkways, the West Side Highway and the Harlem River Drive..." comprise a single, long limited-access parkway skirting the east side of Manhattan along the East River and Harlem River south of Dyckman Street. The Henry Hudson Parkway is the corresponding parkway on the West Side north of 57th Street.
Being primarily an island, Manhattan is linked to New York City's outer boroughs by numerous bridges, of various sizes. Manhattan has fixed highway connections with New Jersey to its west by way of the George Washington Bridge, the Holland Tunnel, and the Lincoln Tunnel, and to three of the four other New York City boroughs—the Bronx to the northeast, and Brooklyn and Queens (both on Long Island) to the east and south. Its only direct connection with the fifth New York City borough, Staten Island, is the Staten Island Ferry across New York Harbor, which is free of charge. The ferry terminal is located near Battery Park at Manhattan's southern tip. It is also possible to travel on land to Staten Island by way of Brooklyn, via the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.
The George Washington Bridge, the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge, connects Washington Heights, in Upper Manhattan, to Bergen County, in New Jersey. There are numerous bridges to the Bronx across the Harlem River, and five (listed north to south)—the Triborough (known officially as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge), Ed Koch Queensboro (also known as the 59th Street Bridge), Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges—that cross the East River to connect Manhattan to Long Island.
Several tunnels also link Manhattan Island to New York City's outer boroughs and New Jersey. The Lincoln Tunnel, which carries 120,000 vehicles a day under the Hudson River between New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan, is the busiest vehicular tunnel in the world. The tunnel was built instead of a bridge to allow unfettered passage of large passenger and cargo ships that sail through New York Harbor and up the Hudson River to Manhattan's piers. The Holland Tunnel, connecting Lower Manhattan to Jersey City, New Jersey, was the world's first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel. The Queens–Midtown Tunnel, built to relieve congestion on the bridges connecting Manhattan with Queens and Brooklyn, was the largest non-federal project in its time when it was completed in 1940; President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first person to drive through it. The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel runs underneath Battery Park and connects the Financial District at the southern tip of Manhattan to Red Hook in Brooklyn.
Manhattan has three public heliports: the East 34th Street Heliport (also known as the Atlantic Metroport) at East 34th Street, owned by New York City and run by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC); the Port Authority Downtown Manhattan/Wall Street Heliport, owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and run by the NYCEDC; and the West 30th Street Heliport, a privately owned heliport that is owned by the Hudson River Park Trust. US Helicopter offered regularly scheduled helicopter service connecting the Downtown Manhattan Heliport with John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, before going out of business in 2009.
Gas and electric service is provided by Consolidated Edison to all of Manhattan. Con Edison's electric business traces its roots back to Thomas Edison's Edison Electric Illuminating Company, the first investor-owned electric utility. The company started service on September 4, 1882, using one generator to provide 110 volts direct current (DC) to 59 customers with 800 light bulbs, in a one-square-mile area of Lower Manhattan from his Pearl Street Station."Bulk Electricity Grid Beginnings", New York Independent System Operator. Accessed November 20, 2016. Con Edison operates the world's largest district steam system, which consists of 105mi of steam pipes, providing steam for heating, hot water, and air conditioningRay, C. Claiborne. "Q&A", The New York Times, May 12, 1992. Accessed June 30, 2009. "In a steam-powered system, the whole cycle of compression, cooling, expansion and evaporation takes place in a closed system, like that in a refrigerator or electrical air-conditioner. The difference, Mr. Sarno said, is that the mechanical power to run the compressor comes from steam-powered turbines, not electrical motors." by some 1,800 Manhattan customers.A brief history of con edison: steam, Consolidated Edison. Accessed May 16, 2007. Cable service is provided by Time Warner Cable and telephone service is provided by Verizon Communications, although AT&T is available as well.
Manhattan witnessed the doubling of the natural gas supply delivered to the borough when a new gas pipeline opened on November 1, 2013.
The New York City Department of Sanitation is responsible for garbage removal.About DSNY, New York City Department of Sanitation. Accessed May 16, 2007. The bulk of the city's trash ultimately is disposed at mega-dumps in Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Ohio (via transfer stations in New Jersey, Brooklyn and Queens) since the 2001 closure of the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island.Burger, Michael and Stewart, Christopher. "Garbage After Fresh Kills", Gotham Gazette, January 28, 2001. Accessed May 16, 2007. A small amount of trash processed at transfer sites in New Jersey is sometimes incinerated at waste-to-energy facilities. Like New York City, New Jersey and much of Greater New York relies on exporting its trash to far-flung areas.
New York City has the largest clean-air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet, which also operates in Manhattan, in the country. It also has some of the first hybrid taxis, most of which operate in Manhattan.
There are many hospitals in Manhattan, including two of the 25 largest in the United States (as of 2017):
Water purity and availability
New York City is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed. As a result of the watershed's integrity and undisturbed natural water filtration system, New York is one of only four major cities in the United States the majority of whose drinking water is pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants. The Croton Watershed north of the city is undergoing construction of a US$3.2 billion water purification plant to augment New York City's water supply by an estimated 290 million gallons daily, representing a greater than 20% addition to the city's current availability of water. Manhattan, surrounded by two brackish rivers, had a limited supply of fresh water. To satisfy its growing population, the City of New York acquired land in adjacent Westchester County and constructed the old Croton Aqueduct system there, which went into service in 1842 and was superseded by the new Croton Aqueduct, which opened in 1890. This, however, was interrupted in 2008 for the ongoing construction of a US$3.2 billion water purification plant that can supply an estimated 290 million gallons daily when completed, representing an almost 20% addition to the city's availability of water, with this addition going to Manhattan and the Bronx. Water comes to Manhattan through New York City Water Tunnel No. 1, Tunnel No. 2, and Tunnel No. 3, completed in 1917, 1936, and (Manhattan's supply) 2013, respectively.
The address algorithm of Manhattan refers to the formulas used to estimate the closest east–west cross street for building numbers on north–south avenues. It is commonly noted in telephone directories, New York City travel guides, and MTA Manhattan bus maps.