Manhattan's current urban design, introduced in 1811 by the City Commissioners, is based on a network of chequered streets where it is easy to orient yourself. The main roads are the avenues
that run the length of the island from north to south, and are cut perpendicularly by minor roads, the streets
, that run from east to west. Some of the streets are as important as the avenue and are 14th St., 34th St., 42nd St. and 57th St. Exception to this scheme of the road network is Downtown and more precisely the area south of Houston Street and the area of Greenwich Village. Another peculiarity is Broadway which, unlike the other avenues, cuts diagonally across the island, following the route of an old Native Indian path.
The north of the island is called Uptown
, while the south is called Downtown
. The names of the avenues are numbers from one (1st Ave.) on the east side where the East River is, to twelve (12th Ave.) on the west side on the Hudson River, with a progression of house numbers from south to north. The exceptions are Lexington Ave., Park Ave., Madison Ave., which are located in place of the 4th Ave., present only for a small stretch between 8th St. & 14th St. The name of 6th Ave. is Avenue of the Americas, but New Yorkers simply call it 6th Ave. No exception is made for the streets (except for a short stretch of 8th St. called Marks Place), which depart from Houston Street and are numbered progressively from south to north. House numbers start at 5th Ave., but start at 8th St., and increase eastwards and westwards, so the house number is made up of a number and East or West to indicate which side they are on relative to 5th Ave. All of these roads, with rare exceptions, are one-way. 2nd Ave., Lexington Ave., Broadway, 5th Ave., 7th Ave., 9th Ave. and 11th Ave., go from north to south, 1st Ave., 3rd Ave., Madison Ave., 6th Ave., 8th Ave. and 10th Ave. from south to north while odd-numbered streets go from east to west and even-numbered streets from west to east. Two-way exceptions are 14th St., 34th St., 42nd. St., 57th St. and Park Ave.
The island of Manhattan is connected to New Jersey by the Holland
tunnels and the Washington Bridge
. The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel
and the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges provide the connection to Brooklyn, while the Queens Midtown Tunnel
and Queensboro bridges provide the connection to Queens. Finally, to the north, the island is connected to the Bronx by a series of minor bridges and by the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge
, better known as the Triboro Bridge
. The latter is a group of three bridges that connects three neighborhoods (boroughs) of the city, Manhattan, Bronx and Queens. Hence the name Triboro
or Triborough Bridge