Friday, July 30, 2004


Most of Manhattan is laid out in a grid system. It is perhaps the easiest area to navigate in the world. North of 14th Street, there are very simple rules:
* as street numbers increase, you are going north;

* as avenue numbers increase, you are going west.;

* if you are east of Fifth Avenue, it's East 58th Street;

* if you are west of Fifth Avenue, it's West 58th Street.

And as for the handful of avenues that are named, not numbered, well... there are so few that it's easy to remember the order.

So why did it take me two cabs to go home last night?  I mean, I intended to travel familiar territory for the equivalent of 25 blocks, so why did I end up wandering all over the Upper East Side?

Okay, a partial explanation makes sense.  I jumped in a cab and apparently told the driver "81st and Lex" when I meant to tell him "81st and York," which is an honest mistake because, up until a year or so ago, I lived at 89th and Lexington for a few years.  The fact that I rode, paid the driver, stepped out of the cab, and watched it drive away before I realized that I wasn't where I wanted to be was, well... a less explainable mistake.

That was bad enough.  Then I did something really stupid.  York Avenue is east of Lexington... so I walked...


For two blocks.

Which meant that I walked across Park Avenue without noticing that I was going the wrong direction.  And Park Avenue is a tough avenue to cross without realizing it.

I finally came to my senses when I reached Madison Avenue, cursed myself out, and hailed another cab.  Because Rockefeller here is totally made of money, right?  Seven minutes later I was finally at the right intersection.  I paid, got out, watched the car drive away...

And that's when I realized that I had become separated from my keys.

Yeah, I know. Sometimes I even impress myself.