Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and the most densely populated county in the United States. With a population of over 1.6 million living in a land area of approximately 30 square miles, it is one of the densest cities in the world. Manhattan is also one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. Manhattan has the third-largest population out of New York's five boroughs, but is the smallest borough in terms of territory.
An international destination, Manhattan is the commercial, financial, and cultural center of the United States and is home to the headquarters of the United Nations. Manhattan is the center of New York City and home to the seat of city government and a large portion of the area's businesses and cultural institutions.
Manhattan is territorially divided into Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown, with Fifth Avenue dividing Manhattan's east and west sides. Manhattan is an island bounded by the Hudson River to the west and the East River to the east. At its northern tip, the Harlem River divides Manhattan from The Bronx. At the southern tip of Manhattan is New York Harbor. Manhattan Island is approximately 22.7 square miles, 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide, at its widest point.
If one looks at the Manhattan skyline, one will observe clusters of skyscrapers in the Financial District and Midtown, whereas in other parts of the city there are primarily mid-rise or low-rise buildings. This is because the underlying bedrock base of the island (which is important for high rise construction) is considerably closer to the surface near Midtown and the Financial District and deeper below grade in other areas.
With the exception of the very southern tip of Manhattan and areas such as the West Village (which predated modern urban planning), Manhattan’s streets are laid out in a grid format. The numbered streets in Manhattan run east-west, and tend to be approximately 60 feet wide. Avenues are wider roadways and almost exclusively run north –south. Numbered streets will either be denoted by East or West, which is based on whether it is east or west of Fifth Avenue.
In Manhattan, uptown means north and downtown means south. This usage differs from that of most cities, where downtown refers to the central business district. That being said, Manhattan’s neighborhoods are all points of interest and are as diverse as the people who live there.
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