8. Columbus Circle is the Geographic Center of the City

Image via Google Maps

In a previous article, we examined the logic behind the selection process for Manhattan’s major cross streets. Here is the relevant passage from the 1807 plan of John Randell dealing with the topic:

Those passages which run at right angles to the avenues are termed streets, and are numbered consecutively from one to one hundred and fifty-five. The northerly side of number one begins at the southern end of Avenue B and terminates in the Bower lane; number one hundred and fifty-five runs from Bussing’s Point to Hudson river, and is the most northern of those which is was thought at all needful to lay out as part of the city of New York, excepting the Tenth avenue, which is continued to Harlem river and strikes it near Kingsbridge. These streets are all sixty feet wide except fifteen, which are one hundred feet wide, viz.: Numbers fourteen, twenty-three, thirty-four, forty-two, fifty-seven, seventy-two, seventy-nine, eighty-six, ninety-six, one hundred and six, one hundred and sixteen, one hundred and twenty-five, one hundred and thirty-five, one hundred and forty-five, and one hundred and fifty-five–the block or space between them being in general about two hundred feet.

Of these major cross streets, Columbus Circle is worthy of a special foot note due to its central location. It’s lined with shops and situated a relatively short walking distance away from many of New York City’s major attractions, including Times Square and Rockefeller Center. It comes as no surprise that it’s regarded as the geographic center of the city. This means all official distances from New York City are measured from this point. As noted in NYC-Grid.com, London is 3478 miles away from New York City, which really means it’s 3478 miles away from Columbus Circle.