Manhattan in Shades of Gray - gricketts
Powered by SmugMug Log In

Night Path

Even for longtime Manhattan residents, navigating one’s way in Central Park can be tricky. It is fairly easy to get turned around and in certain parts of the park landmark buildings can be obscured.

Some New Yorkers know the nineteenth-century cast-iron lampposts in Central Park are stamped with a with a four digit code to identify the location in the park. The first two digits on the lamppost are the nearest cross street. The last two digits indicate east and west. An even number means closer to Central Park West, an odd number closer to 5th Avenue.

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 originally designed to help park employees locate lamps in need of servicing, but it is also a subtle method used by visitors to know where they are in the park—at least those who know the secret.

NightPathCentral ParkSmugmugGary Rickettsgrickettsgricketts.comTreeLamp PostStreet LightFenceBlack and WhiteCapturing History Throught PhotographyCityManhattanNew YorkNew York CityPhotography by Gary Ricketts