Central Park presents endless opportunities for exploration with its historic pavilions, verdant meadows, and plenty of playgrounds, gardens and lakes. But if you’ve found yourself at the vast space scratching your head as to where exactly you were, Mental Floss points out a neat little trick that will help you find your way using a little-known system of numbers found on the park’s 1,600 lamp posts.

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Look closely and each lamp post reveals an etching with four numbers, indicating the nearest street and whether you are on the East or West side of Manhattan. The first two numbers refer to the street and the second set of numbers will either be even or odd. Even numbers indicate east, and odd numbers mean west.  Since there are so many lamp posts scattered throughout the park, one need never get lost.

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The lamps, with their botanical motifs and dual functionality as a navigation tool, are the brainchild of architect Henry Bacon, who also famously designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  Bacon completed the work in the early 1900s. While the iron on the posts was restored in the early 1980s, the original number etchings remain as a kind of pre-GPS touchstone for all park visitors.

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Via Mental Floss via LifeHacker

Images courtesy of Creative Commons

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