[OT beyond any repair] House numbers

John Cowan jcowan@reutershealth.com
Fri, 01 Mar 2002 13:16:36 -0500

Otto Stolz wrote:

> Same here (southern Germany). Odd numbers on the left, even numbers
> on the right hand, when you look up the street (from small to
> larger numbers).

(Going off the deep end today, be warned!)

This rule does not hold here.  In Manhattan, for example,
streets run both east and west from the central spine, and
are numbered starting at the spine and working outward.
However, even numbers are always on the south side.

The rule does work for Manhattan avenues, which are numbered northwards
with the odd numbers on the west (left) side.

In Queens (another part of NYC) the houses were
renumbered in 1926, inducing Queens resident Ellis Parker
Butler (best known for the immortal "Pigs Is Pigs",
http://www.ellisparkerbutler.info/epb/reading.asp?id=2055 )
to have this mnemonic published in the New York Times:

	In Queens to find locations best --
	Avenues, roads and drives run west;
	But ways to north and south, 'tis plain
	Are street or place or even lane;
	While even numbers you will meet
	Upon the west and south of street.

(You can sing it to the tune of "Little Brown Jug".)

What about the "100 house numbers per block" convention?
This does not hold in the older parts of older U.S. cities
(New York does not obey it south of 8th St. or so),
but is quite general in the U.S. as a whole.

> Same here. I guess, it's rather "nearer to the post-office".

In the U.S., at least, house numbers have nothing to do with
the Postal Service, but are assigned by city planning
commissions and the like.  In rural parts, it is not
uncommon for houses to be neither named nor numbered;
my house in the country has no "address" at all, and
only post office boxes are provided (no mail delivery).

Anyone who wants to reach me by snail (extremely snail)
mail, can do so at:


John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>     http://www.reutershealth.com
I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen,    http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith.  --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_