This paper presents issues connected with origins of spatial development of Manhattan, a district of New York. The creation of Manhattan is associated with the growth of New York which started as a settlement called New Amsterdam, built in 1625 by Dutch settlers. Nowadays, Manhattan is one the most desirable districts in the world. Unfortunately, its cultural landscape recorded in photographs, films, and primarily in the consciousness of its inhabitants, has been fading away in recent years. One of the most characteristic elements in this part of the city, tenement houses, are currently bought out on a large scale and subsequently demolished. Multi-floor apartment blocks with their styleless architecture, which occupy the area of several tenements, are built in their place. The article presents a historical outline of the district against the background of its present image and changes which may not always be positive.