Paint Manhattan Circa 1799 is a web-based game to help players learn the history of Manhattan, as told by its streets.


Start playing

You can dive in here or learn how to play first.

Normal mode

This is great for beginners, and introduces the streets in an order that roughly follows the history of New York City.

Hard mode

This mode randomizes the order of streets.

Nightmare mode

This mode removes the street grid, forcing you to paint with only the landmass as your guide.

How to play

The game is played by “painting” the streets of the city: you are prompted with the name of a street to draw, which appears at the bottom-right corner of the screen. Drag your finger (or mouse) along the path of the street to paint it:

Once you are done painting the street, you can release your finger, and will be given another street to paint.

But I don’t know where any streets are!

It’s fine if you don’t know where a street is! In fact, beginners can just wave their finger or mouse all over the screen to reveal the street:

You are free to play the game like this forever, but note that learning where the streets are leads to a higher score: you're given 100 points for every street that you paint with surgical precision, and only 10 points if you make any mistakes.

God mode

This game doesn’t really have a god mode, but it does have a debug panel, which can be used to create a custom game that plays your way.


This game was created by Atul Varma. The following resources were indispensable:

For more information on the inspiration behind this game, see the blog post The Stories Streets Tell.

You can also visit the game’s GitHub repository for more technical details and source code.