NYC Streets

Mangin-Goerck Plan

In 1797 the Common Council commissioned surveyor Casimir Goerck and a partner, Joseph F. Mangin, to prepare an official map of the city. Goerck, who had long been one of the city's leading surveyors, died in 1798. Work on the map was carried forward by Mangin, but not very speedily. Among other things, in 1801 and 1802 Mangin was busy working with John McComb, Jr. on the design for City Hall. When Mangin finally delivered the map, in 1803, the Council found it was not what they had bargained for. In Mangin's own words, it was not "the plan of the city such as it is, but such as it is to be."

In addition to "correcting" the lines of some existing streets, Mangin provided his own somewhat eccentric street layout for the undeveloped land above the present Houston Street to a point just north of today's Union Square. For the most part Mangin simply expanded the previously existing Delancey Farm, Bayard West Farm and Stuyvesant Farm street grids. But since these grids all ran at different angles, there were many awkward intersections. It was also unclear how these grids, if carried farther north, would mesh with Goerck's 1796 layout of the Common Lands, which was already the basis of numerous property transfers and leases. The Common Council tried to make some use of Mangin's plan but, faced with widespread protests from property owners, soon gave up and disavowed it. Nevertheless a few of the streets shown in the plan were eventually adopted, including Mangin Street and Goerck Street. The mess surrounding the Mangin-Goerck Plan was among the factors that led, in 1807, to the creation of the State commission that produced the 1811 Commissioners' Plan.

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