Can I Get There From Here?

The Guideposts editor-in-chief reflects on how giving directions to help others reach their destinations.

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The man walked up to me at the corner of 34th and Madison with a hint of hesitancy in his body language that transferred over into his voice when he asked, “Sir, can you tell me how to get to...”

He’d come to the right guy. Perhaps unlike stereotypical New Yorkers, I love to give directions. Maybe it’s because I’m from the Midwest and Midwesterners are notorious for giving directions. And I pride myself in giving precise, descriptive, even colorful directions with a bit of local history tossed in if possible and maybe a nice place to stop for coffee along the way. People sometimes don’t know what they’re getting into when they ask me how to get someplace. I’m a walking GPS. 

I came to The City 25 years ago right out of grad school and I had to learn my way around on my own. Once I began to master the geography of Manhattan, and how to navigate it, I took a great deal of pride in sharing my newfound knowledge. For me there is something deeply satisfying about helping folks reach their destinations, and it always struck me as interesting that I ended up working for a company called GUIDEPOSTS. Hmmm....

Asking for directions...well, that’s another matter. But I’m working on it. A lot of us guys are. 

By the way, the man was trying to find Grand Central Terminal, about a 10-minute walk from the corner of 34th and Madison and one of my favorite places in the world. I was going that way so we walked together. 

Life is all about destinations. Sometimes when you help others find theirs you end up finding your own.

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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