Among the many, many wonders of New York City the simple grid by which the majority of Manhattan is arranged is, arguably, the most wondrous. It is versatile, vibrant and, four times a year, a giant frame for spectacular sunsets and sunrises. And tomorrow it turns 200.

On March 22, 1811, the city's street commissioners certified the grid plan, four years after being assigned the task of designing the city's future streets by the City Council. The plan they approved wasn't quite the grid we ended up with (for instance it called for neither Central Park or Lexington and Madison Avenues) but it ended up remarkably close. And for better or worse it has defined the way Manhattan has evolved in the two centuries since (not to mention the way we see the rest of the world). Just imagine what Manhattan might look like without it!

Plus, if we'd never gotten the grid system we most likely never would have gotten the strange intersections that occur when the grid bumps into older blocks in the West Village. The corner of West 4th Street and West 12th Street, anyone?

To celebrate the birthday of the Commissioner's Plan of 1811 (which shares the day with the likes of Bob Costas and, uh, Andrew Lloyd Weber) the Times today put together a nifty interactive map where you can overlay the original plan with a modern map and see just how much stayed according to plan (try it!). We were thinking of honoring the grid's bicentennial by lining up a few Manhattans at a bar after work. How will you be celebrating?