Postcard from New York II: 'But It's A Grid System'


I am the hands-down expert in getting lost. I get lost in London, and am often to be seen scrutinising a map like a bona fide tourist on Bond street. The fact that it's my home town is neither here nor there - I am spatially challenged. So here in NY, my lostness reached a critical high yesterday: a 15 minute Brooklyn stroll turned into an hour and a half long odyssey.

If my life (bear with me) were to intersect with a Harry Potter novel, I'd suspect my map of having been malignantly enchanted for roads seem to rearrange themselves when I look away and sometimes, I swear to God, I catch them tittering at me from the corner of my eye. When I tell people that I get infuriatingly lost the whole time in NY, their eyes widen and their foreheads crease...'But HOW Ana? New York is based on a grid system, it's REALLY logical'. Yes, yes. But my mind loves words above numbers. Numbers confuse me. I still count on my fingers. Decimal points and 24 hour clocks confound me. So I keep coming across the same street on my travels (oh! 5th Street! Cool...Carroll Street) thinking I am circling my target destination...any moment now...only to realise that I am no where near, it's just the streets are all very long on account of that pesky grid. And like an acid trip at a festival where you walk for miles only to stumble upon the same noodle vendor as you saw 2 hours before in a slightly different coloured hat, (not just me, surely?) every corner boasts an almost identical Deli.

And Manhattan subway stops that share the same name but one is on the east side of the park and one is on the west? And that there is a road and a subway stop called Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn, and barely minutes away across the river a road and a subway stop in Manhattan called Lafayette Street? Logical? LOGICAL? Don't even get me started...