The Greatest Grid

The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011

December 6, 2011 - July 15, 2012

  • 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St., Open Daily 10am–6pm

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    Explore Manhattan’s foundational act of city planning in this blockbuster exhibition.

    Looking for the Greatest Grid online exhibition? Click here.

    The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011 commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, the design that established Manhattan’s street grid. The plan, once called “the single most important document in New York City’s development,” is widely considered to be visionary and far-reaching. Described by the commission as a blend “beauty, order and convenience,” the grid was adopted in 1811 to facilitate the sale and development of land north of 14th Street to Washington Heights. Featuring an original map of New York's planned streets and avenues prepared by the Commission in 1811, other rare maps, photographs, and prints of the city's streets, and original manuscripts and publications that document the city’s physical growth, the exhibition examines the grid’s initial design, implementation, and evolution as a defining feature of the city.

    The Greatest Grid is a co-presentation of the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Public Library, and The Architectural League of New York and is sponsored by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President.


    Read the New York Times review of the exhibition here.


    Amanda M. Burden
    Chair, City Planning Commission and Director, New York City Department of City Planning

    Scott M. Stringer
    Manhattan Borough President


    Richard T. Anderson
    President, New York Building Congress

    Jill Chalsty
    Founder and Chairman, Community for Education Foundation

    Todd DeGarmo
    CEO, STUDIOS Architecture

    Ronay Menschel
    Chairman, Phipps Houses

    Mitchell S. Steir
    Chairman and CEO, Studley, Inc.


    The exhibition is supported by generous grants from:

    Con Edison
    The Durst Organization
    Dyson Foundation
    Andrew Farkas/Island Capital Group
    Lily Auchincloss Foundation
    New York State Council on the Arts
    The Rockefeller Foundation

    Major sponsorship is also provided by:

    Jill and John Chalsty
    Todd DeGarmo/STUDIOS Architecture
    Peter S. Kalikow
    Ronay and Richard L. Menschel
    Nixon Peabody LLP
    Studley, Inc.
    Vornado Realty Trust

    Additional support has been received from:

    American Continental Group, Inc.
    AvalonBay Communities, Inc.
    Benchmark Builders, Inc.
    Suzanne Davis and Rolf Ohlhausen
    Cooper Joseph Studio
    The 42nd Street Fund
    Gardiner & Theobald
    New York Building Foundation
    The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation
    Robert Derector Associates
    Silverstein Properties
    The Solow Art and Architecture Foundation
    Structure Tone, Inc.
    Taconic Charitable Foundation
    VVA Project Managers & Consultants
    Weidlinger Associates, Inc.

    The exhibition is also made possible with funds from:

    Manhattan Delegation, New York City Council
    New York Council for the Humanities

    The companion book is supported by Furthermore: A Program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund

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