New York Bound Books highly recommends a visit to see the exhibition, The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, at The Museum of the City of New York before it closes on July 15th. We also enthusiastically recommend the authoritative and handsome companion book to the exhibit, The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011 edited by Hillary Ballon, the show’s curator, and published by the Museum of the City of New York and Columbia University Press.
New York’s City Hall officially opened in 1812, elegantly clad in marble, except for the rear of the building, which was finished in brown sandstone. This was the architects’ response to complaints of extravagance. City Hall was then situated at the northern end of the city, and Manhattan’s meteoric growth northward was not forseen.
New York’s Common Council (now called the City Council), however, had the foresight to appoint three commissioners to oversee the development of a rectangular grid of numbered streets and avenues that reached to 155th Street. The MCNY exhibition and book tell the story of this spectacular and ambitious plan as it unfolded over two centuries.
The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011
at the Museum of the City of New York December 6, 2011 through July 15, 2012
The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011 edited by Hilary Ballon, published by the Museum of the City of New York and Columbia University Press, 2011.
Read The New York Times review of the exhibition here.
Read The Bowery Boys review of the exhibition and companion book here.
The Greatest Grid curator speaks about the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811: