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Photo: Susan Merritt

Location Code in Central Park — United States

by Susan Merritt

Four numbers attached to nineteenth-century cast-iron lampposts in New York’s Central Park identify the location of the lamp within the 843-acre city park. The first two numbers correspond to the closest cross street that borders the park on the east and west sides. The last two numbers pinpoint the lamp’s position more specifically; even numbers designate the east side of the park and odd numbers the west. The last two digits increase as one moves toward the center of the park. For example, 9703 indicates a location on the west side aligned with 97th Street while 9746 indicates the east side close to the middle of the park. This numerical system was designed to assist park employees in locating a lamp that is in need of servicing but it has become a subtle wayfinding tool for park visitors, at least for those who know about it.

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