Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare in the center of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, USA. Between 34th Street and 59th Street, it is also one of the premier shopping streets in the world, on par with Oxford Street in London, the Champs-Élysées in Paris and Via Montenapoleone in Milan. Fifth Avenue serves as a symbol of wealthy New York.

It is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive streets in the world, on a par with Paris, London, and Tokyo lease prices: the "most expensive street in the world" moniker changes depending on currency fluctuations and local economic conditions from year to year. For several years starting in the mid-1990s, the shopping district between 49th and 57th Streets was ranked as having the world's most expensive retail spaces on a cost per square foot basis.. [Foderaro, Lisa W. [ "Survey Reaffirms 5th Ave. at Top of the Retail Rent Heap"] , "The New York Times", April 29, 1997. Accessed February 5, 2008.]

In 2008, "Forbes" magazine ranked Fifth Avenue as being the most expensive street in the world.

Fifth Avenue originates at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village and runs northwards through the heart of Midtown, along the eastern side of Central Park, where it forms the boundary of the Upper East Side and through Harlem, where it terminates at the Harlem River at 142nd Street. Traffic crosses the river on the Madison Avenue Bridge.

Fifth Avenue is the dividing line for house numbering in Manhattan. It separates, for example, East Fifty-ninth Street from West Fifty-ninth Street. From this zero point for "street" addresses, numbers increase in both directions as one moves away from Fifth Avenue, with 1 West Fifty-ninth Street on the corner at Fifth Avenue, and 300 West Fifty-ninth Street located three blocks to the west of it.


The lower stretch of Fifth Avenue extended the stylish neighborhood of Washington Square northwards. The high status of Fifth Avenue was confirmed in 1862, when Caroline Schermerhorn Astor settled on the southwest corner of Thirty-fourth Street, and the beginning of the end of its reign as a residential street was symbolized by the erection, in 1893, of the Astoria Hotel on the site of her house, later linked to its neighbor as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (now the site of the Empire State Building). Fifth Avenue is the central scene in Edith Wharton's 1920 Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Age of Innocence". The novel describes New York's social elite in the 1870s and provides historical context to Fifth Avenue and New York's aristocratic families.

Originally a narrower thoroughfare, much of Fifth Avenue south of Central Park was widened in 1908, sacrificing its wide sidewalks to accommodate the increasing traffic. The midtown blocks, now famously commercial, were largely a residential district until the turn of the twentieth century. The first commercial building on Fifth Avenue was erected by Benjamin Altman who bought the corner lot on the northeast corner of Thirty-fourth Street in 1896, and demolished the "Marble Palace" of his arch-rival, A. T. Stewart. In 1906 his department store, B. Altman and Company, occupied the whole of its block front. The result was the creation of a high-end shopping district that attracted fashionable women and the upscale stores that wished to serve them. Lord & Taylor's flagship store is still located on Fifth Avenue near the Empire State Building and the New York Public Library.

By the turn of the twentieth century, the very rich of New York had migrated to the stretch of Fifth Avenue between Fifty-ninth Street and Ninety-sixth Street, the stretch where Fifth Avenue faces Central Park. Entries to the park include Inventors Gate at 72d Street, which gave access to the parks carriage drives and Engineers Gate at 90th, used by equestrians.

A milestrone for Fifth Avenue came in 1916, when the grand corner mansion at 72nd and Fifth that James A. Burden had erected as recently as 1893 was demolished to make way for a grand apartment house, of twelve storeys round a central court, with two apartments to a floor; [The smallest apartment was a half-floor, of twelve rooms; [ 907 Fifth Avenue] .] its strong cornice above the fourth floor, just at the eaves height of its neighbors, was intended to soften its presence; that it was the first such replacement. This area contains many highly notable apartment buildings, many of them built in the 1920s by architects such as Rosario Candela and J. E. R. Carpenter. A very few post-World War II structures break the unified limestone frontage, notably the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum between Eighty-eighth and Eighty-ninth Streets.

Notable sights

Many landmarks and famous buildings are situated along Fifth Avenue in Midtown and the Upper East Side. In Midtown are the Empire State Building, [ which supplanted the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.] the New York Public Library, Lord & Taylor, Rockefeller Center, and Saint Patrick's Cathedral. The stretch of Fifth Avenue from the 80s through the 90s (i.e., from 82nd Street to 105th Street) has so many museums that it has acquired the nickname "Museum Mile" and includes such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. That area was known in the early twentieth century as "Millionaire's Row" after the many mansions built there, as the richest New Yorkers moved their residences north to face Central Park. Earlier, several opulent Vanderbilt houses and other mansions were built in the 50s and in even earlier times farther south. The New York Academy of Medicine is located at 103rd Street, and Mount Sinai Hospital is located at 98th Street.

Between 34th Street (Manhattan) and 60th Street, Fifth Avenue is lined with luxury retail stores, which include Tiffany & Co., Cartier SA, Lord & Taylor, Burberry, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Brooks Brothers, Prada, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, BVLGARI, Emilio Pucci, Armani Exchange, Coach Inc., Escada, Christian Dior, Juicy Couture, Lacoste, Fendi, Sephora, Versace, Kenneth Cole, Sak's Fifth Avenue, H. Stern, Takashimaya, Harry Winston, Henri Bendel, Emanuel Ungaro, Peter Fox, Hugo Boss and Bergdorf Goodman.

Famous former Fifth Avenue retailers were B. Altman and Company, Mexx, Best & Co., Bond Clothing Stores, Bonwit Teller, and Peck & Peck.

Located in 720 Fifth Avenue is the four-floor Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store. Between East 58th and East 59th Street are FAO Schwarz and Apple's convert|32|ft|m|sing=on glass cube, which serves as an entrance for its completely-underground flagship retail store.

Traffic flow

Fifth Avenue carries one-way traffic downtown (southbound) from 135th Street to Washington Square Park, with the changeover from two-way traffic taking place on January 14, 1966, at which time Madison Avenue was changed to one way uptown (northbound). [Kihss, Peter. [ "5th and Madison Avenues Become One-Way Friday; Change to Come 7 Weeks Ahead of Schedule to Ease Strike Traffic 5th and Madison to Be Made One-Way Friday"] , "The New York Times", January 12, 1966. Accessed December 6, 2007. "The long-argued conversion of Fifth and Madison Avenues to one-way streets will start at 6 A.M. Friday seven weeks ahead of schedule to ease congestion caused by the transit strike."] Two-way traffic on Fifth Avenue is allowed north of 135th Street only. From 124th Street to 120th Street, Fifth Avenue is cut off by Marcus Garvey Park, with southbound traffic diverted around the park via Mount Morris Park West.

Fifth Avenue is one of the few major streets in Manhattan along which streetcars did not run. Instead, Fifth Avenue Coach offered a service more to the taste of fashionable gentlefolk, at twice the fare. On May 23, 2008, The New York Times [] reported that the New York City area Metropolitan Transportation Authority's bus division is considering the use of double-decker buses on Fifth Ave. once again, where they were operated by the Fifth Avenue Coach Company until 1953.

Parade route

Fifth Avenue is the traditional route for many celebratory parades in New York City; thus, it is closed to traffic on numerous Sundays in warm weather. These are distinct from the "ticker-tape parades" held on the "Canyon of Heroes" on lower Broadway, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade held on Broadway from the Upper West Side downtown to Herald Square.

The Latino literary classic by New Yorker Giannina Braschi, entitled "Empire of Dreams," takes place on the Puerto Rican Day Parade on 5th Avenue.

Bicycling route

Bicycling on Fifth Avenue ranges from safe with a bike lane south of 23rd Street, [ [ New York City Cycling Map] ] to scenic along Central Park, to dangerous through Midtown with very heavy traffic during rush hours.

ee also

* Transportation in New York City
* List of upscale shopping districts
* Madison Avenue
* Park Avenue


External links

* [ Fifth Avenue Photos]
* [ Greek Independence Day Parade, Fifth Avenue]

Further reading

*cite book|last=Gaines|first=Steven|title=The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan|year=2005|publisher=Little, Brown|location=New York|id=ISBN 0-316-60851-3

Avenues of New York City
West = "(varies by location)"
Sixth Avenue
Central Park
Lenox Avenue
Avenue = Fifth Avenue
East = Madison Avenue

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