52nd Street (Manhattan)

52nd Street (Manhattan)

Coordinates: 40°45′25″N 73°58′11″W / 40.757076°N -73.969857°E / 40.757076; -73.969857

52nd Street
NYC 52nd St theatres.jpg
The theatres of 52nd Street in 2007
Maintained by: City of New York
Length: 1.9 mi (3.1 km)
Location: New York
West end: NY 9AWest Side Highway
East end: Cul-de-sac a block east of First Avenue (Manhattan)

52nd Street is a 1.9-mile (3.1 km) long one-way street traveling west to east across Midtown Manhattan.


Jazz center

52nd Street around 1948

The blocks of 52nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue were renowned in the mid-20th century for the abundance of jazz clubs and lively street life. The street was convenient to musicians playing on Broadway and the 'legitimate' nightclubs and was also the site of a CBS studio. Musicians who played for others in the early evening played for themselves on 52nd Street.

In its heyday from 1930 through the early 1950s, 52nd Street clubs hosted such jazz legends as Miles Davis, Harry Gibson, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Nat Jaffe, Marian McPartland, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Louis Prima, Art Tatum, Fats Waller, and many more. Although musicians from all schools performed there, after Minton's Playhouse in uptown Harlem, 52nd Street was the second most important place for the dissemination of bebop;[1]. In fact, a tune called "52nd Street Theme" by Thelonious Monk became a bebop anthem and jazz standard.

Virtually every great jazz player and singer of the era performed at clubs such as Downbeat, The Famous Door, Jimmy Ryan's, The Onyx, Three Deuces, and the Yacht Club. Noted jazz disc jockey Symphony Sid frequently did live broadcasts from the street, making it famous across the country.

By the late 1940s the jazz scene began moving elsewhere around the city and urban renewal took hold of the street. By the 1960s, most of the legendary clubs were razed or fell into disrepair. The last club there closed its doors in 1968. Today, the street is full of banks, shops, and department stores and shows little trace of its jazz history. The block from 5th to 6th Avenues is formally co-named "Swing Street" and one block west is called "W. C. Handys Place".

West to East

West 52nd Street

West Side Highway

52nd Street at night in May 1948

Eleventh Avenue

The section between Eleventh and Tenth Avenues is signed "Joe Hovarth Way" in tribute to Joseph Hovarth (1945–1995) who located the Police Athletic League William J. Duncan Center on the block after moving from its original location.[2] The Duncan Center is named for a patrolman who was shot while chasing a stolen car in the neighborhood on May 17, 1930.[3]

Tenth Avenue

Ninth Avenue

  • The Manhattan School (north)
  • Radio City Station Post Office (Zip Code 10019) (south)
  • The Link (Manhattan), 43 story 144 m/ 471 ft apartment building opened in 2007[4] on site of former SIR recording studio (south)

Eighth Avenue

52nd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues is "W. C. Handy's Place"
The "21 Club"
The William Kissam Vanderbilt mansion "Petit Château", designed by Richard Morris Hunt, stood on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street until 1926
The Seagram Building was completed in 1957 and was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with Philip Johnson


  • Sheraton Manhattan Hotel at Times Square, 22-story 69 m 225 ft (69 m) opened in 1962[7] (south)

Seventh Avenue

  • Seventh to Sixth is signed W.C. Handy's Place
  • AXA Center, 54-floor 229 m 752 ft (229 m) office tower opened in 1986[8] (south)
  • Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, 51-story 153 m 501 ft (153 m) opened in 1962[9] (north)
  • Flatotel New York City, 46-floor 145 m 475 ft (145 m) Flatotel that opened in 1992 and is the street's(north)[10]
  • Credit Lyonnais Building 45-floor 186 m 609 ft (186 m) office building that opened in 1964 (north)
  • 1285 Avenue of the Americas, 42-story 166 m 545 ft (166 m) office building[11] (south)

Avenue of the Americas

  • Sixth Avenue to Fifth Avenue is signed "Swing Street"
  • AXA Financial Center 43-story 174 m 571 ft (174 m) completed in 1963.[12] It has a large Thomas Hart Benton mural in lobby. (south)
  • CBS Building, headquarters of the network and popularly referred to as "Black Rock" (north)
  • 31 West 52nd Street 30-floor 125 m 411 ft (125 m) completed in 1986 originally for the E.F. Hutton headquarters. Currently the New York office of the international law firm, Clifford Chance (north) and the New York office of investment bank TD Securities.
  • Paley Center for the Media (north)
  • 75 Rockefeller Center, 33 129 m 424 ft (129 m) building completed in 1947 the last of the original Rockefeller Center buildings that was originally used for the headquarters of the Rockefeller Esso Oil Company[13] (north)
  • 21 Club (north)
  • 666 Fifth Avenue (north)
  • 650 Fifth Avenue (south) 36-story, 150 m 492 ft (150 m) office tower completed in 1978[14]

East 52nd Street

Fifth Avenue

  • The Street between Fifth and Madison is signed "Place de Cartier" because of the Cartier SA store at Fifth Avenue (south)
  • Olympic Tower (south)
  • Austrian Cultural Institute Building for Austria[15]
  • Omni Berkshire Place Hotel[16]
  • Hanover Bank Building 30-story, 119 m 389 ft (119 m) completed in 1962

Madison Avenue

  • Park Avenue Plaza Building, 45 story 175 m 574 ft (175 m) building completed in 1981 above the Racquet and Tennis Club (north)[17]

Park Avenue

  • Seagram Building, 38-floor 157 m 515 ft (157 m) building completed in 1958 that is home to the Four Seasons Restaurant[18]
  • 345 Park Avenue, 44-story 193 m 634 ft (193 m) building completed in 1969 (south)

Lexington Avenue

  • 52nd between Lexington and Third Avenue is signed Israel Bonds Way (the Development Corporation for Israel which issues the bonds is headquartered at the intersection in the Grolier Building).
  • Grolier Building 33-story 126 m 414 ft (126 m) building completed in 1958[19]
  • 599 Lexington Avenue, 50-story 199 m 653 ft (199 m) building completed in 1986 (north)[20]
  • 150 East 52nd Street, 35-story 119 m 390 ft (120 m) building completed in 1983[21]

Third Avenue

  • 875 3rd Avenue 29-story 122 m 399 ft (122 m) building completed in 1983[22] (north)
  • MacMillan Building 31-story 111 m 364 ft (111 m) building completed in 1966[23]
  • Hungary Consulate
  • Zambia Mission to the United Nations

Second Avenue

  • Thailand Consulate and Mission to the United Nations

First Avenue

  • 52nd Street is two-ways east of First Avenue since it dead ends on a bluff above the FDR Drive.
  • Southgate Apartment
  • 450 East 52nd - home to celebrities such as Greta Garbo and John Lennon



External links

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