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Getting Around New York City

Getting around New York City is very straight forward. The different streets and avenues are numbered and, in most cases, you won’t need a map to find your way around.

Except for the southern part of the island, Lower Manhattan (also known as Downtown Manhattan, which is south of 14th Street), all of the urban development of Manhattan is on a grid plan. The avenues cross the island from north to south and the streets cross it from east to west.

Avenues

Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue

New York’s most important avenue is Fifth Avenue. Not only does it offer a wide range of exclusive stores, but it also divides Manhattan in two: east and west.

To the east of Fifth Avenue is Madison Avenue, Park Avenue (Fourth Avenue), Lexington Avenue, Third Avenue, Second Avenue and First Avenue. To the west, is Sixth Avenue (also called Avenue of the Americas), Seventh Avenue, Eighth Avenue, Ninth Avenue, Tenth Avenue, Eleventh Avenue and Twelfth Avenue.

Streets

Manhattan’s streets cut the city from east to west and the numbers go up from south to north, which means that if you are walking down a street and the numbers increase, it is because you are walking north.

All the streets are divided into east or west, depending on their location in regards to the Fifth Avenue.

The numbers of the buildings are also counted in regards to the Fifth Avenue, meaning that the higher a number is, the further you are away from Fifth Avenue.

Examples

  • Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street: This is the cross between Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street.
  • 548 West 22nd Street: Number 548 of the 22nd Street, east of Fifth Avenue. This means that it is south and to the extreme west of Manhattan.

An exception

Broadway is an avenue that runs through Manhattan from north to south obliquely. This street, famous for its theatres and musicals, must not be taken into account when doing the calculations.

Broadway crosses several avenues and is home to Times Square.