In October 1757, the New York Common Council authorized the construction of the Upper Barracks. It was to be a massive building: 420 feet long and 20 feet wide, consisting of two stories and enough space to sleep 800 men. Such a structure dwarfed anything else in the city; it was longer than a city block and twice as large as Trinity Church. The Committee for the Building of the New Barracks situated the barracks at what was then the northern edge of New York, placing them on the city common where Broadway split into roads leading to the suburbs of Greenwich Village and the Bowery. As carpenters set to work, the Upper Barracks claimed a privileged position in New York, placing the city under the watchful gaze of the British army.