9. Morningside Park Was Not Part of the Manhattan Street Grid

Commissioner Grid-1807-Harlem-Upper Manhattan-NYC-003Portion of the Commissioner’s plan for New York City. Image via Library of Congress.

If the Commissioners of New York City could have had their way, the Manhattan street grid would have extended through what is now Morningside Park. But the park is one of the many exceptions to the Manhattan street plan of 1807. In the late 1860s, the Commissioner of Central Park, Andrew H. Green, put forth the idea for Morningside Park, arguing that it would be very costly and very inconvenient to extend the Manhattan street grid over this topography. Green wrote that “the ridge of rocks is almost vendureless, breaks so abruptly towards the east as to render the streets that have been laid over it in rigid conformity with the plan of the city, very expensive to work.”