9th Avenue

Today I walked 9th Avenue, about 7 miles.

Today's walk

Today's walk

9th Avenue (or the corridor I'll call 9th Avenue for convenience) begins as Hudson St. at Chambers St. in Tribeca and merges into 9th Avenue at 14th St.  Like the other west side Avenues, 9th Avenue changes names and becomes Columbus Avenue between 59th St. and 110th St. and then turns into Morningside Avenue between 110th St. and 122nd St., where it runs along the bluff overlooking Morningside Park.

While 9th Avenue isn't loaded with famous landmarks or an abnormal number sites of historical interest, it makes a nice cross-section of the city.  Also, the sets used for Upper West Side street scenes in Seinfeld were supposedly modeled after Columbus Avenue.

Madison Avenue

Today I walked Madison Avenue, which runs 6 miles from 23rd Street at Madison Square Park to 148th St. in Harlem.

Today's walk

Today's walk

Madison Avenue, which lies in between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue (originally 4th Avenue), was a bit of an afterthought.  It did not exist on the Commissioner's Plan of 1811 (the master plan the laid out the grid of Manhattan north of 14th St.), but was created by lawyer and real estate developer, Samuel Ruggles.  Ruggles was also responsible for the development of Lexington Avenue (Madison Avenue's counterpart between Park and 3rd), Gramercy Park, and Union Square, and in his later life served as Commissioner for the Erie Canal.

More than anything else Madison Avenue is best known for its role in the history of the American Advertising Industry.  Beginning in the 1920's, Madison Avenue was ground-zero for all advertising firms in New York.  But, just as many of the City's financial firms no longer have physical offices on Wall St., most ad agencies have left Madison Avenue (a trend started when Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce moved to the Time Life Building on 6th Avenue in their fourth season).

It's worth noting that Madison Square Garden is not located on Madison Avenue.  Four separate buildings have carried that name, but only the first two ("MSG I" and "MSG II") were actually on Madison Square.  MSG I was built as a station for the New York and Harlem railroad in the 1870's but later leased to P.T. Barnum, who converted it into an oval arena with seating for 10,000 he called "Barnum's Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome."  It was taken back by the owners of the railroad (the Vanderbilt family) and renamed Madison Square Garden in 1879, and continued to function as venue for sporting events and exhibitions until 1890, when it was closed and replaced by MSG II.  

Perhaps the most interesting detail about MSG II is that it was built by famous architect Stanford White, who kept an apartment in the building and was later murdered there.  White had been involved in an extramarital affair with actress Evelyn Nesbit, and when Nesbit's husband, millionaire Harry Thaw, found out, he shot White in the restaurant on the rooftop of MSG II.  The ensuing murder trial was hyped by the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst, and was one of the first "Trials of the Century."  MSG II was demolished in 1925 and replaced by the New York Life Building.

6th Avenue

I walked 6th Avenue today, about 8 miles, but 2.5 of them were through Central Park, so they didn't count toward the total.

Today's walk

Today's walk

6th Avenue is known as both Lenox Avenue (for philanthropist James Lenox) and Malcom X Blvd.  above Central Park, where it runs from 147th St. to 110th St. through Harlem, passing many current and former landmarks. 

Below Central Park, 6th Avenue runs from 59th St. in Midtown to White St. in Greenwich Village.  An elevated passenger railway was built along 6th Avenue in the 1870's, depressing the value of nearby property and stymieing development.  The railway was torn down in 1938 to make way for the 6th Avenue Subway line (the B, D, F, and M trains), and over the coming years it was alleged that the scrap steel was sold to Japan and subsequently made into armaments used in WWII.  While this was never conclusively proven, it was never conclusively dis-proven either.

6th Avenue was formally renamed "Avenue of the Americas" in 1945 at the request of Mayor LaGuardia.  LaGuardia hoped to encourage Central and South American countries to build consulates along the avenue, thereby fulfilling the dual goals of promoting pan-American trade and sprucing up a formerly gritty thoroughfare.  The plan never really took off, although there are still signs along the street with the names and crests of Central and South American countries and statues honoring a number of their founders and statesmen.

York Avenue & Alphabet City

Today I walked the avenues east of 1st Avenue. That includes York Avenue on the Upper East Side and Avenues A, B, C and D on the Lower East Side / East Village, about 7 miles in all.

Today's walk

Today's walk

York Avenue runs from E 92nd St. to E 53rd St. and was originally known as Avenue A, but changed it's name in 1928 in honor of WWI Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. Alvin York.  It's lined with expensive apartments and homes.  That's pretty much it.

Further south, Avenues A, B, C and D run from Houston St. to E 14th St, creating the eastern half of the East Village neighborhood known as Alphabet City.  These avenues continue south of Houston St. through the Lower East Side, but by different names (Essex, Rutgers, Clinton, Pitt, Montgomery, and Columbia).

Here are the pictures.

3rd Avenue & 1st Avenue

Spent the day walking up 3rd Avenue (about 6 miles) and down 1st Avenue (about 7 miles).

Today's walk

Today's walk

North to south, 3rd Avenue runs from 128th Street to 5th Street and 1st Avenue runs from 127th Street to Houston Street, below which it changes to Allen Street (between Houston and Division Street) and then to Pike Street (between Division Street and South Street).

Here are the pictures from 3rd Avenue: 

And here's 1st Avenue: