Everyone knows Boston’s roads are somewhat nonsensical. Curving through the city, intersecting at odd angles, and having crazy conventions where Winter Street becomes Summer Street, navigating Boston without a GPS is nearly impossible.
Contrast that with Philadelphia, home to the Northeast’s greatest grid and address system.
While the NY grid system is relatively easy to understand, its massive size and non-standardized address system makes identifying locations difficult.
DC’s grid system standardizes addresses, but duplicates intersections in all four quadrants (NW, NE, SW, and SE) leading to significant confusion… not to mention the inclusion of diagonal state streets.
Then there’s Philadelphia. Streets start at the Delaware River and are numbered sequentially from East to West. Perpendicularly, streets are named for trees, with Market Street serving as the center of the city.
How does this grid make sense? Addresses. 1801 Market Street is on Market between 18th and 19th (closest to 18th). 5686 Walnut Street is on Walnut St. between 56th and 57th, closer to 57th. 301 N 12th Street is on 12th Street, three blocks north of Market Street.
Where’s 3801 Chestnut or 100 S. 23rd? You tell me.
Whereas intersections are used in advertisements in many Northeastern cities, Philly’s great address system makes it possible to internalize a geographic location with nothing more than a street address.
And that’s the magic of the address and grid system: you just learned it in a matter of seconds.