Why is it always about you, New York?
This week an iceberg “twice the size of Manhattan” broke off from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier.
What else is twice the size of Manhattan? Just about everywhere else. Manhattan is tiny at only 22 square miles. Manhattan isn’t even the size of Woodbury.
You know what’s bigger than the iceberg? Minneapolis. It’s 53 square miles. But “an iceberg that would easily fit into the boundaries of Minneapolis” (and you, too, Saint Paul) doesn’t quite cut it in the drama department.
Why use Manhattan as the measure of size? Because it suggests something is huge that is not, in fact, as huge as we’re led to believe. We think of Manhattan as big because of the size of the buildings there and the number of people there. The iceberg actually would’ve fit nicely into the Bronx. But people don’t think of the Bronx as huge.
This blog, Icy Seas, compares the entire area to the number of Manhattans. But it brings up an important point that a collapsing iceberg the size of Minneapolis obscures: Most of the melting of glaciers is occurring from below.