Compasses Rose

I have complained before about the lack of compasses rose (or is it compass roses?  Probably the latter, but I like the sound of the former) outside subway stations. Even the most astute and learned New Yorker with a dead-on sense of direction and a detailed mental map (ahem) can get a wee bit turned around in the troglodytic world of the subways. Surfacing from a familiar station is no problem, but emerging at a strange stop can leave a straphanger a bit disoriented. If I’m within the dense grid of Midtown I can certainly see to the street signs a block away and orient myself, but if the sun is hidden and there is no moss on the nearest lamppost, I may have to walk a block or two in the wrong direction to realize which way north is. So why not put a compass rose, friend to visitor and local alike, at the entrance to each subway station?

Well, I’ve complained about this lack before, but someone else has been busy doing something about it. While I had always envisioned something elaborate—maybe mosaic inlaid in the sidewalk—an anonymous Good Samaritan has stenciled compasses outside several subway stations.  Why the pi? No idea, but the U and D must surely stand for Uptown and Downtown.

Anyone have any idea who we have to thank?



This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 and is filed under urbanism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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