Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Disorderly Story of the Orderly NYC Street Grid

Marguerite Holloway, who will give a slide show presentation at the State Museum on Thursday, is the author of the new book, The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel Jr.

Here's an excerpt from a review in Slate:

"Randel, who was born in Albany in 1787, grew up during “a surveying boom,” when a large portion of prominent American males—Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and later, Lincoln—served in the profession at some point. “His was the era of laying lines on the land,” Holloway declares. It was “a culture and a period in which reason and measured action were prized and dominion over the natural world—through exploration, experiment, science, cartography, and infrastructure—was celebrated.” Beginning in about 1804, Randel was hired to assist New York State surveyor-general Simeon Dewitt in his plan to grid upstate New York. Dewitt was influenced by the earlier plan to grid the entire United States, outlined in the 1785 “Ordinance for Ascertaining the Mode of Disposing of Lands in the Western Territory”—the reason why flyover country looks like a waffle iron."

Read more in Slate.

Read about Holloway's visit: