Where is the Center of New York City? – ‘City Full of History’ Episode 10

Last time on “City Full of History”, we climbed the last Shot Tower in Manhattan!  Come along now as we go from Queens to Brooklyn looking for the geographical center of New York City!

Embedded in the sidewalk at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 58th Street in Woodside lies a curious marker denoting that spot as the geographical center of New York City.  There’s only one small problem with this: it isn’t actually the geographical center of New York City.

Geographical Center of New York City-Woodside Queens-Bookworm History-City Full of History-Daniel Thurber

Finding the center of something as large and unwieldy as a city or country is complicated, to put it mildly.  The shape of the body of land is probably incredibly irregular, could contain lots of irregularly shaped islands, and may change depending on tides or the acquisition of new territory.  All of which ignores the 3-dimensional shape of the globe!

In 1912, and again in 1959, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey used a large piece of cardboard in the shape of the United States to come up with an answer for the question “Where is the center of the United States?” but they would be the first to say this was hardly an accurate method.  Today we can have computers do the heavy lifting, but even with them finding the center can prove difficult and inaccurate.

So where is the geographical center of New York City?  Come along with us as we track down this elusive center point on “City Full of History”!

 

Geographical Center of New York City-Woodside Queens-Bookworm History-City Full of History-Daniel Thurber

Oscar S. Adams’ original paper on finding the center of the United States can be found here.

Additional coordinates for the centers of the states can be found here.

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