Thanks to the street grid system, finding your way around New York is actually pretty easy. That being said, there are always confusing situations: which way is south and which way is north? East? West? And where in Central Park am I, exactly? We’ve assembled six tips to help you navigate your way around the city like a local.
1. Central Park is enormous and it’s easy to lose your orientation there. For this reason, the park’s lampposts serve as reference points. Most are marked with numbers that correspond to the crossroads, which are located at the same height on both sides of the park. If a lantern is marked with the number 7304, for example, you’re between 73rd & 74th Streets.
2. Traffic in Manhattan usually only travels in one direction. On streets with odd numbers (i.e., 17th Street), the traffic travels west. On even-numbered streets, traffic travels east.
3. Traffic on avenues (i.e. 5th Avenue) travels north and south, almost always in alternating directions (beginning with 1st Avenue, which is north-bound).
4. There’s a trick that will help you remember the order of the avenues (e.g., Lexington Avenue) in Manhattan: “You can take a CAB back home if it’s Late PM.” Columbus, Amsterdam, and Broadway are on the west side of the city; Lexington, Park, and Madison Avenue are on the east side.
5. 5th Avenue divides Manhattan’s east and west sides. On each side, the street numbering starts at 5th Avenue. 10 East 36th Street is east of 5th Avenue and is an altogether different address than 10 West 36th Street. The only exception is Broadway, which in some places runs diagonally through the city.
6. In Manhattan, most of the northbound (or uptown-bound) subway lines can be accessed on the east side of a given street. The southbound (or downtown-bound) lines tend to be located on the west side of the street. Remembering this will save you from having to cross the street at the last minute before taking the subway.
When all else fails, there is, of course, still Google Maps—or LOCALIKE New York. :)