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(Redirected from Manhattan Island)
For other uses, see Manhattan (disambiguation).

Image:usgs photo five boroughs manhattan.jpg

Image:Map of New York highlighting New York County.png

Manhattan is the name of an island alongside the lower Hudson River and also of one of the five boroughs that form the City of New York. The borough is coterminous with New York County and includes the Island of Manhattan, as well as several other smaller islands and a small portion of the mainland (see geography). As of 2000, the population comprised 1,537,195 persons. New York County is the smallest in area in New York (St. Lawrence County is the largest).



Lower Manhattan skyline (June 2003)
Lower Manhattan skyline (June 2003)

New York County and the Borough of Manhattan are coextensive. As a part of New York City, New York County contains no other political subdivisions. It occupies the whole of Manhattan Island, surrounded by the East River, the Harlem River, and the Hudson River. It also includes some smaller islands, including Roosevelt Island (formerly Welfare Island, and even earlier Blackwell's Island), Belmont Island (which has been unofficially renamed U Thant Island), and a small portion of the North American mainland (Marble Hill) contiguous with The Bronx. Marble Hill was originally part of Manhattan Island; but the Harlem River Ship Canal, dug in the late 19th century to improve navigation on the Harlem River, separated it from the remainder of Manhattan, and eventually the part of the original Harlem River channel separating Marble Hill from the Bronx was filled in.

Manhattan Island is 21.5 km (13 mi) long.

According to the United States Census Bureau, New York County (the Borough of Manhattan) has a total area of 87.5 km² (33.8 mi²). 59.5 km² (23.0 mi²) of it is land and 28.0 km² (10.8 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 32.01% water.

Manhattan is connected by bridges and tunnels to New Jersey to the west, and three New York City boroughs: the Bronx to the northeast and Brooklyn and Queens on Long Island to the east and south. Its only direct connection with the fifth New York City borough is the Staten Island Ferry, whose terminal is at Battery Park at its southern tip.

On May 28 and July 12 the sunrise and sunset are aligned with the street gridlines, so that the Sun is visible at the horizon from street level.

Manhattan landmarks

Streets of Manhattan
Streets of Manhattan

The Empire State Building, the theater district around Broadway, Columbia University, the financial center around Wall Street, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Harlem, the American Museum of Natural History, Chinatown, and Central Park are all located on this densely populated island. (See also New York, New York.) The phrase "a New York minute" refers to the extremely rapid pace of living in Manhattan.

Uptown and downtown

In Manhattan, uptown means north and downtown means south, either in direction of motion or in relative location. For example, an uptown train means a subway train heading north, while a restaurant located three blocks downtown would be three city blocks south of the person who is speaking. The terms uptown and downtown are most often used in the relative sense of north and south; however, uptown can also refer to the northern part of Manhattan (above 59th Street) and downtown to the southern part (below 23rd Street or 14th Street). The area in the middle, between 23rd and 59th Streets, is Midtown.

This usage differs from that of most American cities, where downtown refers to the central business district. Manhattan has two central business districts, namely the Financial District downtown and the newer business district in Midtown.

The term Lower Manhattan is commonly used for the southern part of the island, particularly the area below Houston Street, where streets are named rather than mostly numbered.

Manhattan neighborhoods

As with all large cities, Manhattan consists of many distinct neighborhoods, each with its own character.

See List of Manhattan neighborhoods


The name Manhattan is from the Algonquian languages of the earliest known inhabitants of the area. Legend has it that the island was purchased from the natives for $24 in beads and other such trinkets. The island was settled by the Dutch in 1624. (See New Amsterdam; see also History of New York City.)

New York County is named in honor of the Duke of York, later to become the Catholic James II of England, after whom the City and State of New York were also named. New York County was an original county of New York State, one of twelve created in 1683. At the time of creation of New York County, it was coextensive with the then New York City and occupied all of Manhattan Island, the same area which it occupies today. In 1873, the western portion of the present Bronx County was transferred to New York County, and in 1895 the remainder of the present Bronx County was transferred to New York County. In 1914, those parts of the then New York County which had been annexed from Westchester County were constituted the new Bronx County, and New York County was reduced again to its present boundaries.

Law and government

Like the other counties which are contained within New York City, there is no county government, but county courts and some others such as the district attorney (public prosecutor) do exist. Each borough within New York City elects a borough president, but the office no longer carries any significant powers. (See New York, New York.)

New York is officially designated as the county seat of New York County.6 This is meaningless for all practical purposes because there are no other towns or cities in New York County, which is wholly contained within the City of New York.


Chinatown in Manhattan
Chinatown in Manhattan

New York County is the most densely populated county in the United States.

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 1,537,195 people, 738,644 households, and 302,105 families residing in the county. The population density is 25,849.9/km² (66,940.1/mi²). There are 798,144 housing units at an average density of 13,421.8/km² (34,756.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 54.36% White, 17.39% Black or African American, 0.50% Native American, 9.40% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 14.14% from other races, and 4.14% from two or more races. 27.18% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 738,644 households out of which 17.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.2% are married couples living together, 12.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 59.1% are non-families. 48.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.00 and the average family size is 2.99.

In the county the population is spread out with 16.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 38.3% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.9 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $47,030, and the median income for a family is $50,229. Males have a median income of $51,856 versus $45,712 for females. The per capita income for the county is $42,922. 20.0% of the population and 17.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 31.8% are under the age of 18 and 18.9% are 65 or older.

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45