The majority of the Manhattan street grid is composed of long blocks and short blocks. Well, actually each block has two long sides and two short sides. But when walking, distance is usually measured by which side of a block you just traversed.

One strategy for survival in New York City is to always look like you know where you're going, even if you're completely lost. Short blocks make this easy. Whenever you feel lost or disoriented, simply note the streets you're at and then start walking towards the next closest visible intersection. If the next numbered street is higher than the one you just left, you're walking uptown (manhattan north).

One last piece of advice: Please don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk to look around! Step to the side, out of the flow of traffic. Stopping in the middle of a crowded sidewalk tends to invite collisions and/or rudeness, which can ruin your day.