New York City is the largest and most populous city in the United States of America. It sits within the state of New York along the Hudson River and has 5 distinct boroughs: the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.
Of all of these boroughs, the most unique geographically is Manhattan. Its position is at the center of the city itself, but it is also situated on a long, thin island at this center.
Considering that Manhattan is the smallest and most densely populated borough in New York, it begs the question of how big Manhattan actually is.
Is it a very tiny island with millions of people stacked on top of each other? Or is it quite a large island that just happens to hold a lot of people on it? Today, we will explore how long Manhattan is and talk a bit more about its geography.
How long is Manhattan?
So, Manhattan is quite small. The island itself is only 13.4 miles long, and it is only 2.3 miles wide, which is pretty tiny for a heavily populated island. In fact, Manhattan has often been compared to an iceberg, rather than a habitable island.
If you are from New York and you want a visual view of how long that is, the southern part of Manhattan starts at Battery Park and the northern tip ends in the Inwood neighborhood.
The island itself is surrounded on all sides by water, with the East River in the east, the Hudson River in the west, the Harlem River to the north, and the New York Harbor to the south.
The Divisions of Manhattan Borough
Manhattan has a great many people in it and even though it is the smallest of the boroughs, it still has a large population and the island covers 60 square kilometers, which would be difficult to govern as one area.
Therefore, Manhattan has been split into 3 divisions. These are Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown. Downtown goes from the bottom end of the island at Battery Park to 14th Street and hosts the financial sector of the city of New York.
With Wall Street being situated on it, it has been called the financial center of the world and the world’s most economically powerful city, while also being the third-largest business district in the United States.
Midtown is the area between 14th Street and 59th Street, and it is the largest business center in the world today, with the real estate in this area ranking among the most expensive in the world.
It contains buildings like the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the headquarters of the United Nations. Midtown is also home to the prominent New York entertainment industry, including Broadway.
Uptown is the area above 59th Street, and this is generally a residential area. The area has been divided economically for much of its existence, with neighborhoods being either exceedingly wealthy or almost destitute.
While this has gotten slightly better in some respects, it has also forced a lot of people to move away from their homes as house prices skyrocket. The main areas of Uptown are Marble Hill, Inwood, Washington Heights, Harlem, East Harlem, Morningside Heights, and Manhattan Valley.
The one other division for Manhattan is the east and west sides, which is determined by where your house or neighborhood would fall in comparison to Fifth Avenue. This division actually spans the entire island and has split neighborhoods apart as well.
Size and Population Comparison to Other Boroughs
We mentioned that there were five boroughs earlier and that Manhattan was the smallest, but we wanted to give a view of just how small Manhattan is.
The two largest New York City boroughs are Queens and Brooklyn. Queens is the largest in size, being 460 square kilometers in total, and has the second-largest population, at 2.4 million people.
Brooklyn is the second largest in size, being 250 square kilometers in total, and having the largest population, at 2.7 million people.
Staten Island is the third-largest borough, being 152 square kilometers in total, but has the lowest population of the five boroughs, at just under half a million.
Finally, the fourth-largest borough is the Bronx, being 109 square kilometers in total, with the fourth-highest population, at 1.4 million.
When compared to Manhattan, there are a few surprising statistics for this tiny island. For starters, every other borough except the Bronx is at least double the size of Manhattan – and even the Bronx is very close to being double its size.
This wouldn’t be so surprising, but for the amount of money, people, and architecture that exists on that tiny island. It has one of the largest economies in the world, some of the most prominent buildings, and it has the third-highest population of the five boroughs at 1.6 million.
To give you an idea of how crowded this makes Manhattan, the average population density for New York City is 11,000 people per square kilometer, which is very crowded, and the borough with the lowest population density is Staten Island at 3,327 people per square kilometer.
The population density of Manhattan is 28,872, more than double and almost triple the New York City average.
Tokyo is the world’s largest city, and it only has a population density of around 6,000 people, meaning this tiny island in New York has almost 5 times the density of people as the world’s biggest city.
Manhattan is an interesting and strange island that is overall 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide.
Yet, it has a huge population compared to its size, has one of the highest population densities in the world, and has two of the largest and most important business sectors in the world with one being the most economically important areas in the world today.
If Manhattan is not an island that is not constrained by its tiny size, then we don’t know what is.
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