Sunday, June 8, 2014

Who gridded New York?

Over a Grolsch on Veedenburgerbrugstraatje…

Jan: We Dutch are a rational people. We settled New York. We gave it a logical street layout.

Beatrice: Ja, New Amsterdam or now Lower Manhattan, was originally Dutch. It looks just like the grid in Amsterdam. A little irregular, but north of 14th Street the grid is as regular as a Mondrian.

Jan: What happened north of 14th?

Beatrice: City commissioners created a more aggressive grid plan in 1811. Morris, DeWitt and Rutherford.

Jan: Why did they do that?

Beatrice: For real estate profits. Rectangular lots are cheaper to build on. Developers could build quicker and more cheaply.
Mondrian, New York City II, 1942-44
Dutch artist Piet Mondrian was creating grid compositions in Amsterdam before emigrating to New York in 1940. Is gridding a Dutch thing?

No comments: