Henry James condemned it a century ago as a "primal topographic curse." Rem Koolhaas, the architect and urbanist, countered that its two-dimensional form created "undreamed-of freedom for three-dimensional anarchy." More recently, two historians described its map, regardless of its flaws, as "the single most important document in New York City's development." ... The grid certified by the city's street commissioners on March 22, 1811, spurred development by establishing seven miles of regular, predictable street access. It also laid the groundwork for nearly 2,000 acres of landfill that would be added to the island over the next two centuries. The commissioners concluded that New York "is to be composed principally of the habitations of men, and that straight-sided and right-angled houses are the most cheap to build and the most convenient to live in." nyt.