Broadway (Manhattan)

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Image:Bway.jpg
A view of Broadway in 1909

Broadway, as the name implies, is a wide avenue in New York City, and is the oldest north-south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to the first New Amsterdam settlement. The name Broadway is an English translation of the Dutch name, Breede weg. The street is famous as the pinnacle of the American theater industry. (Although this article is about the world-known Manhattan avenue which also runs into the Bronx, there are other streets called "Broadway" throughout New York City, one each in the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. In addition, there exist short, often isolated stretches of streets that use the name, including East Broadway, West Broadway, and Old Broadway.)

Broadway originated as an Indian trail called the Wickquasgeck Trail, which was carved into the brush land of Manhattan. This trail originally snaked through swamps and rocks along the length of Manhattan Island. Upon the arrival of the Dutch, the trail soon became the main road through the island from New Amsterdam at the southern tip. The Dutch explorer and entrepreneur David de Vries gives the first mention of it in his journal for the year 1642 ("the Wickquasgeck Road over which the Indians passed daily").

Broadway runs the length of Manhattan, being the only street running from almost the southern tip of the island, at Bowling Green, to the northern tip. South of Columbus Circle, it is a one-way street with all vehicle traffic traveling southbound. It crosses Spuyten Duyvil Creek via the Broadway Bridge and continues through the Bronx to Westchester County.

Broadway continues running through several Hudson River towns as U.S. Route 9, before becoming the "New York-Albany Post Road," and running through the state capital, Albany, terminating in Champlain, New York at the Canadian border. (Many towns along the way refer to the route as Broadway within their individual jurisdictions.) Diagonally crossing the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 of Manhattan streets, its intersections with avenues have been marked by "squares" (some merely triangular slivers of open space) and induced some interesting architecture, such as the famous Flatiron Building.

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A view up Broadway from Bowling Green, with the Chrysler Building visible in the background

The section of lower Broadway from its origin at Bowling Green to City Hall Park is the historical location for the city's ticker-tape parades, and is sometimes called the "Canyon of Heroes" during such events. West of Broadway as far as Canal Street was the city's fashionable residential area until circa 1825; landfill has more than tripled the area and the Hudson shore now lies far to the west, beyond TriBeCa and Battery Park City.

Broadway marks the east boundary of Greenwich Village, passing Astor Place. It is a short walk from there to New York University near Washington Square Park, which is at the foot of Fifth Avenue.

At Union Square, Broadway continues its diagonal course across Manhattan, crossing 14th Street.

At Madison Square, Broadway crosses Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street.

At Herald Square Broadway crosses Sixth Avenue (the Avenue of the Americas). The original Macy's Department Store is located on the western corner of Herald Square; it is one of the largest department stores in the world, if not the single largest.

One famous stretch near Times Square, where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan, is the home of many Broadway theatres, housing an ever-changing array of commercial, large-scale plays, particularly musicals; this area of Manhattan is often called the Theater District. This part of Broadway, also known as the Great White Way, draws millions of tourists from around the world. Starring in a successful Broadway musical is considered by most singers, dancers, and actors as the ultimate success in their chosen profession, and many songs, stories, and musicals have themselves been based around the idea of such success. The annual Tony Awards recognize some of the most successful new shows and revivals each year. After becoming New York's de facto Red Light District in the 1960s and 1970s (as can be seen in the films Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy), since the late 1980s Times Square has emerged as a family tourist center for the New York area, in effect being "Disneyfied" following Disney's purchase and renovation of the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street in 1993. Times Square is the location of The New York Times newspaper, from which the Square gets its name, published at offices on West 43rd Street off Broadway. Broadway, in this area, is second only to Tokyo for its lighted advertising, but first as the most recognized street filmed in the world.

At the southwest corner of Central Park, Broadway crosses Eighth Avenue at West 59th Street at Columbus Circle, one-time home of a convention center and now home of a new shopping center at the foot of the new Time Warner Center, home of Time Warner.

At the intersection of Columbus Avenue and West 65th Street, Broadway passes by the Juilliard School and Lincoln Center, both well-known performing arts landmarks, as well as a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon or LDS Church).

Further north, Broadway follows the old Bloomingdale Road as the main spine of the Upper West Side, passing the campus of Columbia University at 116th Street in Morningside Heights as it continues northwards. New York-Presbyterian Hospital lies on Broadway near 166th, 167th, and 168th Streets in Washington Heights. At this point, Broadway is signed as U.S. Route 9 and continues as such until the Canadian border.

[edit] Public transit

From south to north, Broadway at one point or another runs over the IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 5 (1234) 6 <6> (12)), BMT Broadway Line (N Q R (1234) W (123a)), IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line (1 2 3 (1234)), and IND Eighth Avenue Line (A). The IRT Lexington Avenue Line runs under Broadway from Bowling Green to City Hall. The BMT Broadway Line runs under it from City Hall to Times Square-42nd Street. The IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line runs under and over Broadway from Times Square to 168th Street and from 218th Street to its terminal in the Bronx at 242nd Street-Van Cortlandt Park. The northern portion of the IND Eighth Avenue Line runs under Broadway from 168th Street to 207th Street.

On the surface, MTA New York City Transit's M1, M4, M5, M6, M7, M10, M20, M100, M104, Bx7 and Bx20 bus services all use Broadway. The Broadway and Seventh Avenue Railroad and Broadway Surface Railroad streetcar lines used to use Broadway.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Broadway
North End
Upper West Side
Broadway South End
Wall Street area
WSH (12) | Riverside | 11 (West End) | 10 (Amsterdam) | Dyer | 9 | 8 or CPW | 7 | 6 or Lenox | 5 | Madison | Park (4) | Lexington | 3 | 2 | 1 | A or York | B or East End | C | D | FDR
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Broadway (Manhattan)

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