All Roads Lead to Times Square?
June 9, 2010 6:43 AM   Subscribe

How many streets/roads/highways lead into Manhattan?

I was looking at the new subway maps for NYC and got to wondering: not counting ferries, railroads, or helicopter trips, how many routes lead into Manhattan?

Is there a plain old-fashioned two-way road into or out of the city anywhere? Establishment shots in films often show someone making a grand entrance in on the Brooklyn Bridge, etc. But is there anywhere to make a remarkably dull entrance (other than the tunnels?)

And sort of related: in college, a friend directed me from New York to Boston via this small highway with a tree-filled median and little brick gas stations off the side every few miles. He claimed it was a sort of proto-interstate. Does anyone know which route this was?
posted by jefficator to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Manhattan -- open Google Maps and count 'em. There are plenty bridges which you can see by them crossing the water. As for regular roads, no, it's all bridges or tunnels, in part because Manhattan is an island.

You probably took the Merritt Parkway^.
posted by devbrain at 6:51 AM on June 9, 2010

Merritt Parkway.
posted by dfriedman at 6:52 AM on June 9, 2010

Manhattan is, of course, an island so adding up the total bridges and tunnels should answer your question.

Wikipedia has an article on Bridges and Tunnels in New York City.

My quick count:

9 Bridges connect Manhattan to other landmasses:
Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Bridge
Williamsburg Bridge
Queensboro Bridge
Triborough Bridge (RFK)
Willis Avenue Bridge
Madison Avenue Bridge
Henry Hudson Bridge
George Washington Bridge

4 Tunnels connect Manhattan to other landmasses:
Lincoln Tunnel
Holland Tunnel
Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
Queens-Midtown Tunnel
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:02 AM on June 9, 2010

First, this is a trick question. Manhattan is not an island. There is a little section up by the Broadway bridge (Near the Columbia football stadium) that is on the north side of the river. It has a Target and small mall on it. So, you could get into Manhattan by making a turn off of Broadway just before crossing the bridge. Other than that, the dullest entrance I can think of is over the Broadway bridge or the Fordham Road bridge. The beauty of those two bridges is that there is no charge to cross onto the island part of Manhattan.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:02 AM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

2bucksplus skipped the two bridges at the northern part of Manhattan, the Broadway bridge and the one at Fordham Road. And, I contend that the borough of Manhattan is not an island. Won me many a bar bet.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:05 AM on June 9, 2010

The part of Manhattan that is part of the North American mainland is called Marble Hill.
posted by dfriedman at 7:06 AM on June 9, 2010

The Merritt Parkway is in Connecticut.

There are several street-level-ish bridges connecting Manhattan and the Bronx:

- Willis Ave.
- Madison Ave.
- 3rd Ave.
- 145th St.
- Macomb's Dam
- Washington (not the George Washington Bridge that crosses the Hudson)
- 207th St.
- Broadway

Some of these bridges are attractive but none have particularly glamorous views heading into Manhattan.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:07 AM on June 9, 2010

Well, actually, there is a way to get to Manhattan by car without using a bridge, tunnel, or ferry, but it's sort of a loophole.

Take Broadway down through the Bronx and stop just before you cross the river. Voila: Manhattan. "But," you say, "I'm still on the mainland!" Indeed you are. But you're on a special part of the mainland: you're on Marble Hill. Look at the map in that link—do you see how there is kind of a corridor with very few roads that surrounds Marble Hill? That corridor used to be the Harlem River. Here's what happened:
After an increase in ship traffic in the 1890s, the Army Corps of Engineers determined that a canal was needed for a shipping route between the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. In 1895, the construction of the Harlem River Ship Channel rendered the Marble Hill an island bounded by the canal to the south and the original course of the Harlem River to the north. The Greater New York Charter of 1897 designated Marble Hill as part of the Borough of Manhattan. Effective on January 1, 1914, by an act of the New York State Legislature Bronx County was created, but Marble Hill remained as part of New York County. Later in 1914, the old river was filled in, physically connecting Marble Hill to the borough of The Bronx and the rest of the North American mainland.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:08 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, wait, I didn't see that last question about the parkway.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:09 AM on June 9, 2010

I just counted 21 ways in on Google Maps.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:09 AM on June 9, 2010

(And JohnnyGun's right; that's a useful bit of information to know for bar bets. Also useful: Manhattan is more than one island. In addition to Marble Hill, the Borough of Manhattan also includes Roosevelt Island, Randall's Island, Ward's Island, Governors Island, Liberty Island, part of Ellis Island, and U Thant Island.)
posted by ocherdraco at 7:11 AM on June 9, 2010

The least grand way to get onto Manhattan is probably one of the bridges spanning the Harlem River. For example, here's a view entering Manhattan on the 145th St. Bridge.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:11 AM on June 9, 2010

The Merritt Parkway is in Connecticut.

Yes, though the style of the Hutchinson River Parkway isn't that different in NY, if I recall correctly, and that gets you as far as the Throg's Neck Bridge.
posted by aught at 8:01 AM on June 9, 2010

The Hutch will take you to the Whitestone Bridge. Need to get onto 95 to get to Throgs Neck. But, the Hutchinson River Pkwy is what the road is called in NY (south of 287) and is similar in feel to the Merritt until near the border with the city around New Rochelle.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:24 AM on June 9, 2010

Henry Hudson Parkway might be the road that is a somewhat parkway that goes into Manhattan. It doesn't go all the way up to Boston, I think you would get to it from the Mosholu Parkway.
posted by kellyblah at 9:53 AM on June 9, 2010

Manhattan is not an island.

The island of Manhattan is an island, and is usually what's being referred to, rather than New York County.

Besides, Marble Hill's area code is 718.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:45 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

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