New York is divided into 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The Bronx is the only borough that is not an island.

Manhattan is the smallest island and the most well-known borough, encompassing the city’s main attractions. The island is 21,6 km long and 3,7 km wide and is crossed by streets and avenues, perpendicular to each other.

Manhattan Avenues

The avenues are orientated from north to south and the main ones are called 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th ending at the 12th Avenue. Interestingly, between the 3rd and the 5th Avenues, there are three avenues and none of those is the 4th. These are: Lexington Avenue (known as Lex), Park Avenue and Madison Avenue.

Around 1800, Park Avenue was called 4th Avenue. That was the location where one of the country’s first railway lines passed through. As the city evolved, the line became underground and the avenue was baptized as Park Avenue given the numerous green areas that emerged later on. The best-known avenues are the 5th and the Broadway.

The numbering of avenues starts on the east side and ends on the west side. In other words, the 1st avenue starts on the east side and, as we move towards the west side, the numbering increases until the 12th avenue. The split between the east and west side is made by the 5th avenue.

Manhattan Streets

The streets are also numbered and perpendicularly intersect the avenues, from west to east. But there are exceptions to this numbering rule. For instance, the neighborhoods of Village, Soho and Tribeca, in which streets have their own names.

The streets numbers start in the island’s southern part and increase as we move north. In other words, in the southernmost point we find the 1st street and in the northernmost one we have the 190th street.

In this direction (south-north) the island is divided into 3 sections. The downtown, which is located in the south, occupies the area between the 1st and 14th streets. The midtown is the central section, between the 14th and the 59th streets. The uptown is in the north, above the 59th street.

Manhattan Neighborhoods

In New York there are several neighborhoods. I will now mention some of the neighborhoods by section, something determined by the streets.

In the downtown area (in the island’s south) you have Chinatown, SoHo (artistic), Greenwich Village (West Village or The Village), the Financial District (Lower Manhattan), Nolita (or Little Italy), TriBeCa (acronym for “Triangle Below Street”), Lower East Side and Meatpacking District. Here we can find Wall Street, the World Trade Center and the Batter Park.

In midtown, the island’s central area, you have the Flatiron District, Chelsea, Gramercy, Murray Hill, Garment District. The Broadway theaters, Times Square, the Empire State Building, the MOMA and the Rockefeller Center.

In the Uptown section, you have the Harlem, the famous Central Park, the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side.

Each of the neighborhoods has its history and different features. Each one of deserves a unique article!

The Manhattan borough has lots to see and stroll. Many neighborhoods and areas are rather different from one another. One needs time to absorb all that mishmash of cultures and influences.

As soon as we arrive by plane, and we see all of the skyscrapers, the charm starts to emerge. It’s a depiction that we already have from so many movies and series. When we finally get to Manhattan and stroll through its streets, we are already familiar with what we see. We immediately recognize several settings that are so intimate to us.

It’s an island that, even if we haven’t been there previously, leaves us immediately with a sense of “déjà vu”. This is part of the whole charm, in my opinion.

Visit it, at least once.

Read the articles on the fact of New York having been the country’s capital already over here, the Chrysler Building here and on the Statue of Liberty here.