Randel, Jr.'s grid design for the remainder of the island (1807) mirrored the city commissioners' belief that straight-sided and right-angled dwellings were both affordable to build and convenient to live in. Because it originally followed the Indian Wickquasgeck Trail, Broadway runs diagonally. The name comes from the Dutch word "breed," or "wide," which describes the road as being large enough for two carriages to pass each other.
Before 1807, all roads on Long Island were unmarked paths used by Native Americans and early settlers for travel and trade. The Wickquasgeck Trail was important because it led directly from Manhattan to Orient Point, allowing passengers and cargo to be transported over land rather than by boat. When Europeans began to settle Long Island, they often built their homes along the routes used by the Indians so they could profit from the traffic passing by. These roads were called "brodways" because they were wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other.
The first survey map of Long Island was published in 1712 by Henry Hudson. It showed four roads on the island: a north-south route known as the North Road and three east-west trails named after the towns where they started: the Westchester Road from northern New York City, the Manhatten Road from Jersey City, New Jersey, and the East Hampton Road from Suffolk County on Long Island.
The reason for this is that Broadway predates the bleak grid concept. When Peter Stuyvesant acquired Manhattan for the Dutch and renamed it New Amsterdam, there was already a road across the island. Broadway was transformed into the principal north-south cart track between New York Bay and the Bronx, which it still follows today. The original street was built as a path for Native Americans to move their canoes down from the surrounding hills after hunting or fishing in the now-busy Hudson River basin.
The first written reference to Broadway dates back to 1644. At that time, it was just a muddy path used by local farmers to bring their goods to market. In 1712, Governor William Cosby formally announced the construction of a new road called Broadway. The new road was designed to be wide enough for two carts to pass each other and had well-drained gravel underlayment. It was also marked with wooden posts every 50 feet or so. The posts were painted red at the top and white at the bottom to make them stand out more against the green trees of New York City.
Broadway wasn't the only road across the island. There was also Wall Street, Chestnut Hill, Beaver Brook, Artichoke Hill, Mulberry Bend, Turkey Path, and Rockland Road. These paths were often used by hunters to traverse the island in search of game. Some of these roads still exist today under different names.
Why are the streets of Lower Manhattan and Greenwich Village so congested? Why is Broadway angled and not on the grid pattern? The Dutch expanded their trading post at New Amsterdam into a city state in 1653, they built their first road system to connect the various settlements within the colony. This road network was improved upon by George Washington after he became president, but the diagonal nature of the original street network has caused problems for traffic engineers.
Broadway started out as Indian Wicket Road, which ran from what is now Canal Street to South Battery Park. It was constructed by cutting down trees and filling in holes with dirt, thus creating an easy-to-walk path for Native Americans. The Dutch called this trail New Amsterdam's Back Road because it went behind their main settlement. In 1626, Henry Hudson sailed up the river that would come to be known as New York City River and explored its surrounding areas. He found the route useful for shipping goods to and from Europe so decided to build a canal along the banks of the river. However, he died before he could finish the project so his partners continued on. They hired French civil engineer Louis Nicolas Davout to design and build the canal system and he in turn used Indian Wicket Road as his reference point.
It proposed expanding the island's tip and utilizing landfill to regularize its shoreline. He built a number of street grids on terrain that was either agricultural or undeveloped at the time. The grids, which had various baselines, came together, and Mangin erected parks and public areas there. These included Washington Square, which he designed in 1847, and Gramercy Park, which he created in 1848.
The city's first comprehensive plan was drafted in 1911 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed New York City's Central Park. They proposed building more than 10 million square feet of commercial space and housing thousands of new residents inside the grid.
In 1917, Mayor John Francis Hylan announced plans for a large landfill in the harbor. He called it "a new Manhattan". The project was completed in 1924. It was called Roosevelt Island and it is now part of the borough of Manhattan.
Roosevelt Island was made up of five small towns that had been destroyed by the great hurricane of 1938. The government demolished all of them except one that was saved for use as a community center. This last town was given the name Queens Village and it has since become an important neighborhood in Queens.
So, NYC's grid system was designed to create luxury high-rise apartments for the middle class and poor people can live in the suburbs.
The first section of road was built in 1664 by colonists from England to connect their settlement on the Connecticut River with Boston, Massachusetts.
Broadway has been called the "Main Street" of New York City because it is one of only a few streets that run the entire length of the city.
It is also referred to as American Broadway because it is the most prominent street in the United States.
Finally, Broadway is known as "The Great White Way" because of the many theaters that line both its north and south sides.
The first road was just a path, but it led from Watertown (now Waltham) down to Boston, so they called it the Indian Road or Wagontown Road. In 1665, another colony named Virginia built their own road that went straight across the country from Philadelphia to Port Royal for trade. This became known as the King's Highway or Route 1. So, Broadway is not straight because it follows a road that already existed. It is instead diagonal because it connects two opposite points on a circle.