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Mill Lane-NYC Shortest Streets-Financial District-Wall Street-Stone Street-NYCMill Lane. 

Countless short streets, spanning just tens of feet, exist throughout NYC. However, how does one define a street? When does a street turn into an alley? The shortest street in this article will include the one that is opened on both ends allowing traffic to flow through. Several streets are in contention, all located downtown. 

Edgar Street-Financial District-Shortest Street-Battery Garage-Battery Park-NYCEdgar Street in the Financial District.

Quite possibly the shortest street in Manhattan (and indeed Forgotten NY claims it is the shortest), is Edgar Street. The street is located in the Financial District and named for shipping magnate William Edgar. It sits right at the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and spans the length from Trinity Place to Greenwich Street.

Gay Street in the West Village is a contender for the shortest street in Manhattan, but it is not.

Then there is Gay Street in Greenwich Village, running from Christopher Street to Waverley Place. Named in 1833, Gay Street was created as an alley for stables (akin to MacDougal Alley or Washington Mews). It did not receive its name in relation to LGBT rights, but most likely for an owner in the area. Gay Street is quite short, but is not the shortest.

Mill Lane though, located in the Financial District, appears to be the shortest street in Manhattan, just a few feet shorter than Edgar Street. There are no addresses on Mill Lane and the street spans from Stone Street in the east to South William Street (historically known as Mill Street) in the west. The street became Mill Lane in 1664, though it was previously called Elliot’s Alley.

See a Fun Map of NYC’s Shortest StreetsGet in touch with the author @spencercnyc

8 Comments

  1. Downtown Dan says:

    The “shortest street” is such a fascinating topic to read about. This is exactly the kind of unique and well written article that keeps me following Untapped Cities. I plan to check out some of these streets this weekend. Keep these articles coming………… great job!

  2. konyc says:

    A bit north, where do Renwick Street, Weehawken Street, Jersey Street and Gramercy Park E and W rank?

  3. Dean says:

    According to a plaque on a building there, Weehawken in the West Village is actually the shortest. It’s definitely shorter than both Gay and Minetta, for what that’s worth. Used for a prison that used to be on the site.

  4. meech says:

    Darn. I thought I HAD this, but I’m nearly 200 years too late.

    I was researching the property of an ancestor who lived on Hoboken Street, a street I had never heard of. It was only a short little street even in the 1830s and when I tracked it down on an old map, at the foot was, not surprisingly, the Hoboken Ferry terminal. The path of the street still exists but is now the end of Canal Street, a short jog that connects it to the West Side Highway. (Search for 530 Canal St. on Google Maps, the odd bend in Canal is what was Hoboken Street.) Because the land under the West Side Highway wasn’t yet filled in, in the 1830s it was an even shorter street as it is today.

  5. Jucope says:

    The photo you’ve labeled as being of Mill Lane is actually one end of Stone Street. Mill Lane intersects with it where the tent is in the photo. Mill Lane can be seen on Google Street View here:

    https://www.google.com/maps/@40.704722,-74.010365,3a,75y,138.22h,70.64t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s6CinLhIDhREm_dxboyA_aQ!2e0

  6. Ben says:

    By the standards of this article itself, Mill Lane shouldn’t count–it’s not open to traffic at all.

  7. Babs says:

    The photo you have above the caption of “Gay Street” is actually Minetta Street, it runs between Minetta Ln and 6th Avenue.

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