Which way is North?
I\’ve never claimed to be good with directions. In fact, I\’ll be the first to admit that I\’m directionally challenged. With this fascinating tidbit of my personal life in mind, I would like you to imagine someone like myself attempting to get around Washington, D.C.
I\’m sure D.C. isn\’t all that tricky when you live there or have spent a nice chunk of time there, but for someone like me – shall we say, \”compass-ly deficient\” – it was a nightmare.
A good friend told me that the roads are designed in such a way to make it difficult for an invading army to reach the Capitol. I don\’t know if that\’s true, but it\’s totally awesome, so I\’m going to go with it. Surprisingly, I took no solace in this intriguing fact as I drove aimlessly around looking for Rhode Island Avenue NW or Massachusetts Avenue SE.
I do however know the alphabet and how to count. So the grid part of the city wasn\’t so bad. I could get from P and 17th to U and 11th, no problem. But when you start throwing in so many diagonal streets, some traffic circles (sorry, U.K., \”roundabouts\”), and state names that don\’t seem to go in any discernable order – yeah, its official, I\’m lost.
It would have been neat if they had the state avenues in order of their addition into the union (hey hey, history lesson!) – or alphabetical – or ANYTHING other than totally random. The only real pattern I could find is that New York and New Jersey intersect at some point. Just like real life!
Other things I\’ve learned while studying the map are that Montana and West Virginia are not near one another; neither are Massachusetts and Louisiana. YET, you\’ll find a very lovely train terminal called Union Station at the intersection of the latter.
Luckily, we had a local production assistant and a GPS unit to get us around our shoot. However, the morning after our final shoot day, I was on my own. Instead of flying with all of our gear, I figured it\’d be easier to just drive from – and back to – New York. After all, Google told me it\’s only four hours. Not so with Mini Magellan at the steering wheel. It took me two hours to get out of the city. Don\’t ask how, because I don\’t remember. All I know is I passed the same liquor store three times before figuring out that circular isn\’t the fastest way to Maryland, and subsequently Delaware and Jersey. Even if those states converge by the Library of Congress.