(across the) "block" ~= street, and the OED?

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 4 15:08:03 UTC 2011

"In practical terms, it is absolutely inconsequential" *to people who live
there and know the system*. A nonlocal looking for, say, 150 W. 72 St. and
not viscerally aware of the E/W division at Fifth Ave. could easily be
misled into heading down E. 72 St.

I grew up in NYC and know the Manhattan system well. I have lived and
visited and gotten lost in many, many other areas where such critical
knowledge is assumed. For example, in the Boston area (as I recall it),
corners generally have signs identifying the cross street -- that is, the
smaller street -- but not the artery, apparently on the assumption that you
obviously know what street you're ON and are just looking to find the one to
turn off to. If you're coming along a neighborhood street, conversely,
you're supposed to be able to recognize the artery when you reach it.

And then, in Boston and Philadelphia and probably every city, there are the
corners with no signs at all, leading to cell phone calls like "HELP! I'm at
You-obviously-don't-belong-here and None-of-your-business!!"

Mark Mandel, geographically challenged

On Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 2:43 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>wrote:

> The "300 block" usage was unknown to me also in NYC, but it is very common
> elsewhere.
> Those "W. 72d St." signs have been there for as long as I can remember.
>  The
> reason is that the division between East Side and West Side begins (or
> perhaps "began") on the West (Central Park) side of Fifth Avenue.
> In practical terms, it is absolutely inconsequential because it has no
> effect on address numbers on Fifth Avenue. There are no addresses "on" W.
> 72d St. as it wends its way toward Central Park West, or on any of the
> other
> handful of "transverses" through the park. The W. 72d St. addresses begin
> on
> the other side of Central Park.
> Another ex. of people with not enough to do and not enough on their minds.
> JL

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