The Map That Made Manhattan : Planet Money : The Indicator from Planet Money Manhattan is known for being a grid. But 200 years ago, it was a hilly, bucolic wilderness. The transformation all started with a secret map. And the reason was all about economics.

The Map That Made Manhattan

The Map That Made Manhattan

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/784511905/784516438" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Manhattan was once a bucolic island of rolling hills, swamps, beavers and bears. Today, the city is an almost-completely-flat grid.

This was no organic evolution: in the early 19th century, a radical new map was proposed to completely transform the island. The idea was to make Manhattan an efficient, global center of commerce. And it worked! But the price was high.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.