Central Park lampposts bear ‘secret codes’ to help you find your way

June 6, 2017

© Miesha Agrippa for 6sqft

We can think of worse fates than getting lost in Central Park. With its winding pathways, lovely bridges, stunning gardens, and a magical lake, it’s the most visited urban park in the United States. But a few of those visitors are bound to take a wrong turn every now and again, and if you find yourself in that predicament, Central Park’s 1,600 lampposts bear a secret code that will help you get your bearings and find your way.

© Miesha Agrippa for 6sqft

The lights were designed by Beaux-Arts architect Henry Bacon in 1907. Each one has an embossed or painted set of numbers on its base. The first two or three digits tell you the closest cross street. The last number tells you whether you’re on the east or west side. Odd numbers correspond to the west side of Manhattan and even numbers point to the east side. One way to remember the code: Both “east” and “even” start with E.

The city has been making things easier by adding metal plaques that provide the name of the cross streets as well, but the old-fashioned way is definitely more of an adventure.

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