Street view of people walking in East Village neighborhood of Manhattan

Manhattan’s Streets and Avenue Grid: Your Ultimate Guide

New York City is a mesmerizing maze of towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and a grid system that could leave even the most seasoned explorer scratching their head. But fear not, fearless urban adventurer! Let’s embark on a journey to demystify the intricate web of Manhattan’s streets and Avenue grid that make up the heartbeat of the Big Apple.


Streets of New York

Streets of New York


Manhattan, the heart of New York City, is renowned for its logical and orderly grid system. Established by the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, this system comprises streets and avenues intersecting at right angles. The streets run east-west, numbered from 1st Street in the south to 220th Street in the north. Most avenues run north-south, from 1st Avenue in the east to 12th Avenue in the west.

This grid system makes navigation straightforward. For instance, the address “425 5th Avenue” indicates the building is on 5th Avenue, between 38th and 39th Streets. However, the grid has its quirks. Broadway, one of the oldest thoroughfares, cuts diagonally across the grid, creating unique triangular intersections, such as the Times Square at 42nd Street.


Brief History Lesson

Bench in City Hall Park of Lower Manhattan

Bench in City Hall Park of Lower Manhattan


Before we dive into Manhattan’s streets, let’s take a step back in time. In the early 19th century, city planners envisioned a metropolis that would be easy to navigate—a city laid out in a logical and organized grid system. And so, the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 was born, giving birth to the iconic grid that defines the streets and avenues we know today.


Streets vs. Avenues

New York City street sign

Street sign in New York City.


First things first, let’s tackle the streets and avenues. Streets run horizontally, stretching east to west, while avenues run vertically, cutting through the city from north to south. The grid makes it easy to figure out where you are and where you’re going, as long as you remember, numbers increase as you move away from the city’s center.


Odd or Even?


Now that you’ve got the hang of streets and avenues, it’s time to crack the code of Manhattan’s addresses. Odd-numbered addresses are on the north or east side of the street, while even-numbered addresses cozy up to the south or west side. This simple trick can turn you from a lost tourist into a confident city traveler in no time.


Midtown Divide

Midtown Manhattan

Midtown Manhattan


Midtown Manhattan, the bustling epicenter of business and entertainment, introduces a slight twist to the grid. As you wander through the neon lights and skyscrapers, you’ll notice that the streets start getting numbered with both east and west prefixes. It’s like navigating two cities in one, but fear not—embrace the duality, and you’ll conquer Midtown like a pro.


Ready to Start Your Travels?

New York City’s streets and avenue grid is like a puzzle waiting to be solved. Embrace the difference, get lost in the city’s rhythm, and maybe you’ll stumble upon your new favorite hidden gem. So, lace up your walking shoes and hit the streets of the Big Apple with newfound confidence. The city is one big adventure waiting to be conquered!

Explore Our Recent Articles

View All Articles