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Is Manhattan Spacious Enough?

Monday, April 26 2004

A few weeks ago I brought up something at work that I’d heard a long time ago that I couldn’t verify was true or not. It goes likes this:

If on a regular work day around 11am in Manhattan everyone in every single building decided to step out of the buildings, would there be enough elbow room outdoors (including city streets and parks) for the lot?

We decided that Manhattan meant the Island of Manhattan (the cutoff being the Harlem River), not just downtown, and that elbow room meant about 2 square feet per person (which isn’t exactly elbow room, but easier on the maths). The consensus at work is that if we’re just talking residents then there’d be plenty of elbow room. At 11am, then there’d be a ton of people who commuted from outside of Manhattan.

So what do you think? Anil, lover of New York, can you weigh in? Matt says it might be more true than false. Vic thinks no, but doesn’t trust his answer. Rannie says there would not be room. Andre says there would be room (I think he thinks everyone is as skinny as Uma Thurman). What do you think?