Built St. Louis > > East St. Louis / Metro East
Geographically, the developed portion of East St. Louis is shaped like a comet -- a blob-shaped head near the Mississippi River ("Downtown"), with three streamers of neighborhoods trailing off behind it to the east ("North / East / South Neighborhoods").
The city as a whole is thoroughly sliced and diced by infrastructure: rail lines and train yards, bridges, Interstate highways, factory superblocks, unbuildable marshlands, and streets pointlessly made one-way. Tiny, isolated pocket neighborhoods abound. Driving through the city can be an exercise in frustration, as streets dead-end, peter out into dirt trails, loop back on themselves, or run in the wrong direction for unexpectedly long distances, failing to make the connections one hoped for.
Adding to the confusion, the city's grid is skewed and runs northwest-southeast. Identifiable landmarks are few and far between, and often they are too distant to be much help.
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