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New York City is on any traveler’s list of places to visit. However, it can be quite intimidating as there is much to see in so little time. This is a guide on how to navigate New York City in an effective way, leaving the traveler satisfied with what they have seen without the feeling of spending too little time on the attractions.

The most important tip to remember: in the majority of places, the streets are numbered. No need to wonder about quirks or formulas, if you’re on 59th Street and have to walk to 71st Street, walk up 12 blocks. Surprisingly easy. As far as having a “North Star” and situating where someone is at all times, it is important to remember that 5th Avenue is the street which divides east and west. Seeing as how West 59th Street and East 59th Street can both exist, and either side also has its own subway line going up and down, it can be easy to get lost walking in the wrong direction for a few minutes.

With the easiest part now out of the way, on to more complicated street math. There are paths all drivers memorize in order to efficiently navigate, and a very important point is that in order to ensure traffic flows both ways, even-numbered streets head east and odd-numbered streets head west. The reason this minor point is important is the nightmare that is traffic. Getting stuck can be an unpleasant experience; therefore it is best to have prior knowledge of where to go.

As far as subway riding: many stations have two entrances, one for uptown and one for downtown. Therefore it is always important to look twice before entering; another truth is that the uptown platform is on the east side of the street, and vice-versa. Knowing this fact will save a lot of time, especially if the subway stop lies on a major street. Certain subway lines also move express at certain times, those are represented on the map with white dots, as opposed to the local black dots. It can be a help during rush hour.

Of course, with phones so prevalent another way to navigate can be with Google maps, or asking a strange for directions… but who wants to do that?