New York City in the 19th Century

The city quickly recovered from the war, and by 1810 it was one of the nation’s most important ports. It played a very important part in the cotton economy: Southern planters took their stuff to the East River docks, where it was then transported to the mills of Manchester and other English industrial cities. Then, textile manufacturers sent their completed items back to New York.
However, there was not a simple way to carry items back and forth from the ever increasing agricultural hinterlands to the north and west until 1817, when work started on a 363-mile canal from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. The Erie Canal was finished in 1825. Finally, New York City was the trading capital of the nation. As the city got bigger, it made other infrastructural improvements. In 1811, the “Commissioner’s Plan” established an orderly grid of streets and avenues for the undeveloped areas of Manhattan north of Houston Street. In 1837, building work began on the Croton Aqueduct, which provided clean water for the city’s ever increasing population. Eight years after that, the city established its first municipal agency: the New York City Police Department.