Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

Navigating the city: Buenos Aires vs. Boston

September 28, 2011
We've only been here a month and yet I feel I know my way around Buenos Aires better than I ever did around Boston. Even if Boston's roads weren't determined by cow paths, they're still totally helter-skelter. [1] Summer Street crosses Washington Street and becomes Winter Street. Now how does that make any sense?

Buenos Aires much more closely resembles a grid. It's not as easy as New York with its numbered streets and avenues, but it's not that hard to get your head around how the city is organized.

There are a number of major avenues that ring and criss-cross the city. Once you learn those avenues, it's not hard to figure out roughly where you are. And many streets continue for a mile or more, so the key is learning the streets' relative locations to each other.

For example: In Boston, if you told someone you were on Grove Street between Cambridge and Revere, that would only help them if they knew the city well. You could try to give them the major roads that border that area (Storrow, Cambridge and Beacon), but if there were a mile away at the waterfront, that might not help them very much. Here if you tell someone you're on Guermes between Armenia and Malabia, it's much easier to locate those roads. Guermes is south of the major avenue Santa Fe. Armenia and Malabia are west of the major avenue Scalibrini Ortiz.

To be fair, the city is huge, and if you end up far from the neighborhoods you know, you probably won't have any idea where you are. According to Wikipedia, Buenos Aires measures 78 square miles, compared to 48 for Boston (including East Boston, Charlestown, Roxbury, etc.). But that comparison doesn't tell you much since cities define their limits differently (the largest city in the U.S. is Yakutat in Alaska at 9,450 square miles [2]). So to picture the relative sizes, here's an outline of our two neighborhoods (Palermo and Recoleta) on top of a map of Boston:

Made using MAPfrappe.
And here's a map of our two neighborhoods, within the whole city of Buenos Aires:

- Steph

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