Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why Queens streets are numbered that way

From Fox 5:

Have you ever wondered why the streets in Queens are so wacky? You might see 60th Avenue, 60th Road, and 60th Drive all near one another. But then you may also see a jump from 49th Street to 70th Street.

So why is that?

The system is strange enough that motorists have reported getting lost even when using a GPS

As Fox 5's Ashley Mastronardi reports, Queens, which used to be mostly farmland, was once separate towns and villages, so their street grid systems weren't consistent and had to be merged.


georgetheatheist said...

The absolute worst is Clintonville Street and environs: 14th Road and 150th Place.

Anonymous said...

One thing that this report on Fox News that didn't mention was how a number of the individual villages in Queens had identical street names that were completely unrelated and unconnected. For example, a number of the different villages once each had a "Washington Street."

Perhaps the city believed that ultimately all individual village names would be replaced with "Queens" in addresses and felt that having dozens of Washington Streets would be even more confusing than it is now.

The numbering system is far from perfect but once I learned how to use it, I found it a bit easier to find my way around Queens (and I'm not a native).

Another aspect of the numbering system that the report didn't mention was how the endings of names are arranged.

Numbered Avenues, Roads and Drives (and VERY occasionally Courts) essentially all run east to west (pointing toward Manhattan). The endings also go in order when a number is repeated. From north to south the order is as above: 52nd Avenue, 52nd Road, 52nd Drive, 52nd Court.

Numbered Streets, Places, and Lanes essentially run north to south. The endings also go in that order from west to east when a number is repeated: 64th Street, 64th Place, 64th Lane.

Then, just to make things even more fun, sometimes there's a short numbered street that doesn't fit in at all and the ending is "Terrace" as in 56th Terrace in Maspeth.

Yeah, it's flawed (a negative) but it's also quirky (a positive) and does have some practical use once you know the conventions.

I think it could be tweaked in certain areas but I wouldn't eliminate entirely.

Anonymous said...

The Queens grid is more practical than the one in Manhattan.

For example if you're invited to 112-36 63rd Drive, you can guess that this house is located between 112th and 113th Street (or Place)

Anonymous said... has an explanation

Anonymous said...

"many people have no idea why they are like that"

Bullshiat. Transplants fron the mid-west here on 'extended vacations' may not know (such as reporters, story writers, etc), but people who live here sure do. Hell, i even know the given name of my street before it was changed over to a number system.

Anonymous said...

kinda unrelated but near woodside and LIC the 7 train stations still use their older pre-queens names. they're completely gone and irrelevant if not for the fact the MTA keeps them as Station names.

some examples
46th Street – Bliss Street
40th Street – Lowery Street
33rd Street – Rawson Street

Anonymous said...

Whoever devised the layout of Queens streets was a genius. You think you can get lost in Queens? Then you better stay out of Brooklyn and the Bronx.