Tag Archives: World Almanac

All New York City Sidewalks Are Not Created Equal

What Is The Width Of The Sidewalks In Manhattan?

Following up on our November 19, story, All New York City Streets Are Not Created Equal, the 1904 World Almanac has a list of the width of Manhattan’s sidewalks. The chart can provide the answer to which avenue has wider sidewalks Fifth Avenue or Lenox Avenue? While this may not be a burning question on anyone’s mind, it is interesting to see how much the sidewalk width varies from street to street and avenue to avenue.  The obvious differences are plainly apparent to any New Yorker walking the streets so we thought it would be worth it to reproduce this list with the actual measurements.

Width of Sidewalks in Manhattan Borough

In streets 40 feet wide 10 ft.
In streets 50 feet wide 13 ft.
In streets 60 feet wide 15 ft.
In streets 70 feet wide 18 ft.
In streets 80 feet wide 19 ft.
In streets above 80 feet, not exceeding 100 feet. 20 ft.
All streets more than 100 feet 22 ft.
Lenox and 7th Avenues, north of W. 110th St 35 ft.
Grand Boulevard (Broadway above 59th Street) 24 ft.
Manhattan St. 15 ft.
Lexington Avenue 18 ft. 6 in.
Madison Avenue 19 ft.
5th Avenue 30 ft.
St. Nicholas Avenue 22 ft.
Park Avenue from E. 49th to E. 56th St. and from E. 96th St. to Harlem River 15 ft.
West End Avenue 30 ft.
Central Park West, from W, 59th St. to W. 110th, East side 27 ft.
Central Park West, from W. 59th St. to W. 110th, West side 35 ft. 6in.

How many of these sidewalk measurements remained the same throughout the 20th century is open to conjecture. I would imagine that many sidewalks have had their original dimensions changed due to the high value of Manhattan real estate.

click to enlarge

This photograph, taken November 10, 1914 at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street looking south, has a clear view of the sidewalk. The men near the carriage are standing in front of the Hotel Savoy (built 1892 – demolished 1927). On the right at 58th Street is the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion (built 1893 – demolished 1926).  It does not appear that the sidewalk is actually 30 feet wide.

All New York City Streets Are Not Created Equal

The Distances Between Streets & Avenues – Things You Probably Didn’t Know

If you are traveling at the same pace, regardless of the avenue, it is faster to walk between 6th and 7th Streets than walking from 13th to 14th Streets. Why? Because the block between 6th and 7th is only 181 feet, 9 inches while the block between 13th and 14th is 206 feet, 6 inches.

Anyone walking around Manhattan is sure to notice that street distances between blocks and avenues vary widely. But few know that the block lengths can vary by several feet.

When the grid plan for Manhattan’s streets were laid out, you’d think that the streets would be equidistant. They are not.

Maybe this is the sort of thing that almost no one would care about, but living up to this web site’s name, I found this chart very interesting. It is from the New York Bureau of Buildings in the 1892 edition of The World Almanac.

1892 World Almanac (click to enlarge)

As you see, the chart lists the distances between the avenues, the width of the avenues and streets and the length of blocks north of Houston Street.

There are a few interesting things to note. One is how far Avenues A, B, C and D extended northward in 1892. Avenue A was later renamed Sutton Place north from 53rd Street and York Avenue north from 59th Street. Avenue B was renamed East End Avenue from 79th to 90th Street. Many portions of Avenue A, B, C and D were never completed (the landfill required to extend them was never done), or wiped out with map changes and construction in the 20th century (e.g. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive). Regardless, the almanac still lists the proposed dimensions for the phantom avenues via the Bureau of Buildings.

The other thing to note is that the main cross streets of 14th, 23rd, 34th etc. are all the same: 100 feet wide as compared to the other streets which are all 60 feet wide.

I have used the modern names of avenues in parentheses. Below are some highlights of the chart.

Avenues in Manhattan are 100 feet wide with some notable exceptions:

Lexington Avenue – 75 feet

Boulevard (Broadway) above 59th Street – 150 feet

Madison Avenue South of 42nd Street – 75 feet

Madison Avenue North of 42nd Street – 80 feet

Madison Avenue From 120th to 124th Streets – 100 feet Continue reading

Crime, Murder, Prisons, Hangings and Lynchings in 1891

Some Interesting Facts The 1892 World Almanac

The 1892 World Almanac contains fascinating crime statistics.

Putting the crime numbers in perspective to the population, in 1890 the United States total population was 62,830,361.  The “colored” population  was 7,488,676. So, African-Americans made up about 12% of the population.

There were 45,233 people in penitentiaries, 14,687 were black. That means African-Americans comprised nearly one third of the inmates in the U.S. penitentiary system.

The number of murders and homicides reported by newspapers for 1891 was 5,906.

The murders and homicides are broken down as follows:

  1. Quarrels 2,820
  2. Liquor 877
  3. Unknown 859
  4. Jealousy 449
  5. By Highwaymen 241
  6. Infanticide 208
  7. Resisting Arrest 182
  8. Insanity 102
  9. Highway Men Killed 74
  10. Self Defense 74
  11. Strikes 10
  12. Outrages (?) 2

The number of legal executions reported in the U.S. was 123. The two leading states were Georgia and Texas with 19 and 12 executions respectively. The electric chair as a means of execution was first put into use in New York in 1890.  Almost all the executions in 1891, were by hanging.

The number of lynchings reported was 195. The leading two states were Alabama with 26 and Mississippi with 23. Six of the people lynched were women.

Below is the full chart on all these statistics. (double-click to enlarge to full size)


How Many Books Were Published 100 Years Ago As Compared To Today?

A Glut of Publishing

In 1907 there were 9,260 books published in the United States according to the New York State Library Bookboard.

Compare that to 2010 when there were 316,480 books published by traditional publishing companies according to Bowker.

Add to that another 2,776,260 on-demand titles produced by reprint houses specializing in public domain works and by presses catering to self-publishers and ”micro-niche” publications.

That is over 3 million books published in one year.

No wonder it is so hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Continue reading

The 1929 World Almanac

Some Vintage Advertisements of the Era and What Americans Paid in Taxes

The World Almanac was called The World Almanac because it was published by The New York World newspaper, not because it contained everything about the world. A version is still published every year even though the New York World has been gone for many years.

This edition was published in early 1929 when America was riding high. The stock market crash that caused the Great Depression in October was still months away.  The almanac covers the past events of 1928 and has data on thousands of items that are no longer covered in modern almanacs.

The first 70+ pages were advertisements. The rest, useful information.

Here are a few interesting things I found looking at my copy. (click on any photo to enlarge and click again for high resolution)

You need a coffin? The Springfield Metallic Casket Company of Springfield Ohio has many to choose from including “old reliable.” My favorite Continue reading