The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, edited by Hilary Ballon, contains a variety of different images and artifacts that offer a visual history of how the city changed as the grid evolved. Below are some images from the book:
A detail from the Randel Farm Map. John Randel’s survey of Manhattan was instrumental in developing the grid.
An 1886 photograph of 81st and 9th Avenue. As the grid extended upward rocks had to be removed.
Real estate document from 1874 delivered to Dr. Robert Lenox.
Aeriel view of Madison Square 1894
A Panorama from Park Avenue and 94th Street
Morningside Park, 1903
Inwood, 1914. Despite various plans and efforts, the grid system did not extend to Northern Manhattan.