Lonely Planet Writer

Lost in Central Park? Look for the lampposts that hold a valuable secret

Here’s some interesting information for visitors to the Big Apple; if you ever find yourself a little lost in New York’s giant 843-acre Central Park, the 1600 lampposts that are scattered around the grounds hold the key to getting back on track.

People a little lost in the park can simply look for one of the 1,600 posts scattered around the grounds.
People a little lost in the park can simply look for one of the 1,600 posts scattered around the grounds. Image by Charles Hoffman / CC BY 2.0

Each ornate lamppost has a unique number inscribed on the base of the pole that actually acts as a navigational tool for travellers and locals alike looking to find out where exactly in the park they are. The first two or three numbers in the code specify the closest cross street, while the last number indicates what side of town is nearby. Even numbers mean east side while odd numbers mean west side.

The numbers on the base of each lamppost correspond to the nearest street and side of town.
The numbers on the base of each lamppost correspond to the nearest street and side of town. Image by Angelo Amboldi

Designed by Henry Bacon in 1907 and having been in place since the early 20th Century, the “secret” code on each lamppost has only recently become general knowledge after having been revealed in a documentary on Discovery Family Channel about America’s secret places.