February 08, 2005

Map Quest

Google, with some fanfare, today announced the launch of their pretty new Google Maps service. Of course, I immediately tested it to find out if it passed a quintessentially New York test: can it locate 1 Liberty Plaza, the headquarters of illustrious companies such as Cleary Gottlieb and Nasdaq? I type the address into the box, and presto – Google Maps cocks up (see right), pointing the way to Liberty Place, a tiny little alleyway of no interest whatsoever, rather than Liberty Plaza, on the other side of Broadway. If you try the same thing on MapBlast (now part of MSN), it will ask you to choose between a range of results, including 1 Liberty Ave in Brooklyn and 1 Liberty St in New York. If you pick 1 Liberty Pl, of course, you'll end up in the same alleyway that Google pointed us to. (In New York, "Pl" stands for place, while "Plz" stands for plaza.) MapQuest is much the same: it'll show you Liberty Street or Liberty Place, but not 1 Liberty Plaza.

It's only when you try New York City's own map site, the New York City Map Portal, that you get an accurate result (at left). Type in "1 Liberty Plaza" and it will show you exactly the correct building, and even show you that it is not on Liberty Pl, which is down to the south-east.

At PropertyShark.com, however, I managed to find a map which not only shows you which building 1 Liberty Plaza is, but also shows you where the Liberty Plaza itself is. Liberty Plaza, it transpires, is the name of Liberty Street between Broadway and Church. That map, if you're interested, is after the jump.

Posted by Felix at 10:43 PM GMT

Right, it's that desolate bit of concrete where a farmers' market occasional assembles itself. Used to be a decent falafal stand there, too.

Posted by: Matthew on February 8, 2005 10:48 PM

Ooh, I loved those falafels -- used to eat them the whole time, when I worked at 120 Broadway. The plaza is also known for its backgammon hustlers, during the more clement months.

Posted by: Felix on February 8, 2005 10:50 PM

Yeah, Itay won some good money there.

Posted by: Stefan Geens on February 8, 2005 11:53 PM

You stood and watched him win? Or you just stood and let him tell you that he won?

Posted by: Felix on February 9, 2005 12:19 AM

I saw him do it.

Posted by: Stefan Geens on February 9, 2005 12:22 AM

Update: maps.yahoo.com has the weirdest location yet for 1 Liberty Plaza -- neither Liberty Place nor Liberty Plaza, but rather the east side of Broadway, opposite the building we're looking for. Better than Google, worse than NYC, but I have no idea how they managed to come up with the location they did.

Posted by: Felix on February 9, 2005 03:06 AM

Yeah, looks like Google is not so hot at Manhattan. Check out these directions for going all the way across town from one end of 57th Street to the other: "Distance: 2.0 mi," it says, "(about 3 mins)". I'd love to see someone try to get on 57th Street from the Drive to the Highway in "about 3 minutes"...

Posted by: Felix on February 9, 2005 03:32 AM

Sorry, but you're forgetting the whole definition of the word "plaza". Liberty Plaza is not the name of Liberty Street between Broadway and Trinity, it's the plaza itself. Liberty Plaza has just been redone. It's an outdoor space where people can congregate, bordered by Liberty Street on the north, Cedar Street on the south, Broadway on the east, and Trinity on the west.

Posted by: Laurie Harris on August 3, 2006 07:16 PM