NYC Streets

Numbered Streets

Manhattan's present system of numbered streets dates from the 1811 Commissioners' Plan, but there were three earlier sets of numbered streets, all running north-south. In 1751 three numbered streets were laid out behind Trinity Church. In this series, First Street was about on the line of the present Greenwich Street.

The north-south streets in the Bayard West Grid were numbered in the late 18th Century, starting with the present Mercer Street and continuing west to the now-vanished Hancock Street. Some of these numbers are shown, along with names, on the 1797 Taylor-Roberts Plan but on the 1803 Mangin-Goerck Plan only the names are used.

Except for Orchard Street, the earliest north-south streets in the Delancey Farm Grid were numbered beginning with what is now Chrystie Street. Orchard Street was the fifth street, so that number was skipped and the next street to the east was called Sixth Street. In 1817 these numbers were replaced by the present street names, all commemorating heroes of the War of 1812.

Although the present numbered streets were adopted in 1811, they did not begin to be graded or built on until the 1820s. House numbers, where a street was built up enough to require them, were originally continuous from west to east. About 1842 the city began numbering buildings on the crosstown streets east and west from Fifth Avenue, starting with 13th Street.

The present 100-to-a-block system of house numbers on crosstown streets dates from the 1860s. In 1886 the house numbers on the streets west of Central Park were renumbered to begin with 1, rather than 301, at Central Park West.

Sources | Contact | © 2005-2006 by Gilbert Tauber