By Katherine LaGrave. Photos: Getty.
Spring has arrived and summer is around the corner, which means the annual crush of tourists and New Yorkers desperate for some outdoors time will fill every nook and cranny of Central Park's 848 acres—splashing around in a rowboat from the Loeb Boathouse, trampling on your picnic lunch at the Great Lawn, or trying in vain to find the Friends fountain (tip: It was actually filmed on a studio lot in Los Angeles). With some 40 million annual visitors, Central Park is not wanting for people.
But say you do get turned around in Central Park, and aren't interested in stopping someone to ask for directions. Service is spotty, and you don't know about Google Maps' offline functionality. You've got to escape, but aren't sure if you're heading toward the Met or Strawberry Fields. What to do? According to Mental Floss, all you need to do is look at a lamp post.
Specifically, you should look at the base of one of the park's 1,600 cast iron lamp posts, which are numbered with four-digit codes to help you locate where you are: The first two or three numbers tell you which street you're closest to, while the last number indicates whether you're closer to the East or West Side of the park—odd numbers mean you're closer to the West Side, and even numbers mean you're closer to the East Side. 7021? Close to 70th Street, on the West Side. 1102? 110th Street, East Side. According to Curbed, the lamp posts were specifically designed this way by Henry Bacon in 1907.
At the very least, it's a good thing to keep in mind the next time you're wandering the park with a phone that's losing its juice.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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