So, a couple weeks ago I went to a friend’s house for dinner. I’ve been there many times before – dozens of times, I think. I got lost. Again.

I live in Manhattan, and most of Manhattan is a grid, which is great for me. Not only is it a grid, but the streets are numbered. I can remember 78, 79, 80 …. I know how that works. The avenues are sort of numbered – some of them are and some aren’t – but there aren’t that many of them, so I can more or less get by. And I know some tricks (for instance, on the streets, which run east to west, the odd numbered buildings are on the north side of the street. So, if I come out of an odd numbered building on a street, I know I am facing south. (Sadly there is no such rule for avenues). In most of Manhattan, I manage.

But my friend lives in Greenwich Village, and it’s not a grid at all. So I took the subway to the right stop. Then I started walking in the right direction. Then I turned at the wrong spot …. and I wandered in a sort of spiral, eventually getting to his building.

I don’t know how people do this in places where the whole city is full of streets that aren’t numbered or organized in ways that aren’t grids.

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