HISTORY OF STREET NAMES IN THE UNITED STATES
The first streets in the United States were named for important places or landmarks in the city, like Church, Park, Market or for topographic features, such as Hill, Lake, River, Bay, etc. Often, important streets were called Main or King, or carried the names of American heroes and presedents, e.g. Washington and Jefferson.
New York and other planned cities have numbered streets. The streets running in the north-south direction are avenues; the ones running east-west are called streets.
Also, to help find adresses, cities are sometimes divide int four parts: east/west by an avenue, and north/south by a street. For example, the island of Manhattan in new York City is divided into east/west by Fifth Avenue. So, the address 205 West 46th Street is west of Fifth Avenue, while 295 East 46th Street is east of the same avenue.
Adapte from Brief History of Street Naming in North America, by Lawence Kestenbaum.