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William Bridges (1771 - July 10, 1814) was one of the foremost surveyors and mapmakers of early New York City. A native of England, Bridges probably arrived in the United States in either 1805 or 1806. This is known from his earliest record in the States, when he advertised as a tutor for architectural drawing from young men and women, in 1806. In that year he was also appointed City Surveyor for New York.

Bridges had a complicated and far from clean personal and professional record. In politics, he was a Federalist, and he in the course of his political activities he was accused of election fraud for apparently trying to force others to vote for his candidates.

In his professional life, he was dogged by similar controversy. Bridges is remembered today first as the publisher of the 1811 Commissioner's Plan of New York, which famously gave the city its grid. That map has been called "the single most important document in New York City's development" (Augustyn & Cohen, Manhattan in Maps). However, Bridges was not actually responsible for the surveys that resulted in the map; those were done by another man altogether, John Randel Jr. (1787-1865). Bridges enraged Randel by publishing the Commissioner's Plan crediting only himself. This resulted in a series of public arguments that lasted until Bridges's death in 1814. Despite the nefarious way in which he procured and published the map, Bridges managed to defend its copyright.

Bridges also issued a copy of the Mangin-Goerk Plan of New York, on which he similarly only credited himself.

In less than a decade in New York City, Bridges had a considerable influence on the history of the city, despite (or maybe because of) his dubious personal character.

For more on Bridges, see  Marguerite Holloway's book The Measure of Manhattan.