Thursday, May 17, 2007

Finding Your Way Around Philly

I just received via email a map from a vendor for an event happening at something like 1336 Chestnut Street and I had to chuckle. But that was just my Philadelphia-native sensibilities. You don't really need a map to get around Philly! So I thought I'd explain it to you.

Philadelphia is one of the easiest cities to figure out, because of it's wonderful grid system. Numbered streets run north and south. Named streets (mostly trees) run east and west. And the best thing: the numbers mean something. So, to use the example above 1336 Chestnut Street would be found on Chestnut between 13th and 14th Streets (it's a bowling alley, by the way).

In addition, Market Street is the dividing line between north and south for numbered streets. So an address like 106 S. 13th St. is south of Market (but not too far, just a couple of blocks) on 13th Street. (I hear they have great margaritas!)

I lived and worked in Manhattan for many years, and there are formulas in the phone book (no lie!) to estimate the location of addresses on the grid, variable by street. Philadelphia is much simpler!

The only thing you really need to know is the order of the "trees". So quickly from North to South (for the main named streets of Center City), remember: Callowhill-Vine-Race-Cherry-Arch-Market-Chestnut-Sansom-Walnut-Locust-Spruce-Pine-Lombard-South.

Happy walking!


Anonymous said...

Shown up by a New Yorker!! Thank you, Marie, for a terrific description of how to navigate Philly.

Marie Ascher said...

Heh. This is the one thing about Philly that has NOT changed since I moved to NY from Center City in 1994!