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How many blocks long is Manhattan?


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Answered 2010-01-21 18:16:24

This is a bit of a tricky question.

The northernmost street on the island of Manhattan (in the Inwood neighborhood) is 220th Street. After 220th Street, the tip of Manhattan is separated from the bottom of the Bronx by a skinny stretch of river known as the Harlem River.

However, the Marble Hill neighborhood, while geographically part of the Bronx, is officially considered to be a part of Manhattan, because it actually once was!

The Marble Hill neighborhood used to be on the northermost tip of Manhattan, just north of the Inwood neighborhood. The part of the Harlem River that flowed past Marble Hill was extremely narrow, making it very dangerous for ships to sail from the Hudson River to the East River via the Harlem River.

So in 1895, a deep, wide trench was completed (called the Harlem River Ship Channel), cutting Marble Hill off of Manhattan and making it into an island. In 1914, the narrow, dangerous stretch of river that separated Marble Hill from the Bronx was filled in, making Marble Hill geographically part of the Bronx. However, to this day, the Marble Hill neighborhood is still officially a part of Manhattan, even though it's in the Bronx now.

So, since 228th Street forms the north boundary of Marble Hill, it is perfectly valid to say that the northernmost street in Manhattan is 228th Street -- not 220th Street.

Now, 1st Street is not the southernmost street in Manhattan. Below 1st Street, the streets just have names instead of numbers.

Houston Street is one block south of 1st Street. So, for the purposes of this answer, we will consider Houston Street to be Zero Street (0 St).

For the most part, the neat little grid pattern that New York City is laid out on does not exist below Houston Street on the East Side, and 14th Street on the West Side. So it is difficult to count the streets downtown, since they are not laid out in neat little squares, but in crazy zig-zags. But I did my best, and I counted about 35 streets below Houston Street.

220 + 35 = 255

228 + 35 = 263

So, if we say that 220th Street is the northernmost street in Manhattan, then Manhattan is about 255 blocks long. If we say that 228th Street is the northernmost street in Manhattan, then Manhattan is about 263 blocks long.

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