Gerard Koeppel - Little, Brown Book Group

Gerard Koeppel



Gerard Koeppel is the author of Bond of Union: Building the Erie Canal and the American Empire and Water for Gotham: A History. He has contributed to numerous other books, including the Encyclopedia of New York City, of which he was an associate editor. Before writing mostly about the past, he wrote, edited, and produced the present at CBS News. He was born on the grid and has lived all over it since.
Books currently available by this author

Date published: New > Old

Da Capo Press

City on a Grid

Gerard Koeppel
Authors:
Gerard Koeppel

You either love it or hate it, but nothing says New York like the street grid of Manhattan. Created in 1811 by a three-man commission featuring headstrong Founding Father Gouverneur Morris, the plan called for a dozen parallel avenues crossing at right angles with many dozens of parallel streets in an unbroken grid. Hills and valleys, streams and ponds, forests and swamps were invisible to the grid so too were country villages, roads, farms, and estates and generations of property lines. All would disappear as the crosshatch fabric of the grid overspread the island: a heavy greatcoat on the land, the dense undergarment of the future city.No other grid in Western civilization was so large and uniform as the one ordained in 1811. Not without reason. When the grid plan was announced, New York was just under two hundred years old, an overgrown town at the southern tip of Manhattan, a notorious jumble of streets laid at the whim of landowners. To bring order beyond the chaos- and good real estate to market- the street planning commission came up with a monolithic grid for the rest of the island. Mannahatta- the native "island of hills"- became a place of rectangles, in thousands of blocks on the flattened landscape, and many more thousands of right-angled buildings rising in vertical mimicry.The Manhattan grid has been called "a disaster" of urban planning and "the most courageous act of prediction in Western civilization." However one feels about it, the most famous urban design of a living city defines its daily life. This is its story.

Da Capo Press

Bond of Union

Gerard Koeppel
Authors:
Gerard Koeppel

In this elegantly written and far-reaching narrative, acclaimed author Gerard Koeppel tells the astonishing story of the creation of the Erie Canal and the memorable characters who turned a visionary plan into a successful venture. Koeppel's long years of research fill the pages with new findings about the construction of the canal and its enormous impact, providing a unique perspective on America's self perception as an empire destined to expand to the Pacific.