2nd Avenue


View Larger Map

2nd Avenue is an avenue on the East Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan extending from Houston Street at its south end to the Harlem River Drive at 128th Street at its north end. A one-way street, vehicular traffic runs only downtown. A bicycle lane in the left hand portion from 55th to 34th Street closes a gap in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. 2nd Avenue passes through a number of Manhattan neighborhoods including (from south to north) the Lower East Side, East Village, Gramercy Park, Murray Hill, Upper East Side, Yorkville and Spanish Harlem.

History of 2nd Avenue:

Downtown 2nd Avenue in the Lower East Side was the home to many Yiddish theatre productions during the early part of the 20th century, and 2nd Avenue came to be known as 'Yiddish Broadway'. Although the theaters are gone, many traces of Jewish immigrant culture remain, such as kosher delicatessens and bakeries, and the famous 2nd Avenue Deli (which closed in 2006, later reopening on East 33rd Street).
The 2nd Avenue Elevated train line ran above 2nd Avenue the full length of the avenue north of 23rd Street, and stood from 1880 until service was ended on June 13, 1942. South of 2nd Avenue, it ran on First Avenue and then Allen and Division Street. The elevated trains were noisy and often dirty (in the 19th century they were pulled by soot-spewing steam locomotives). This depressed land values along 2nd Avenue during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Partially because of the presence of the El, most buildings constructed during this era were working class tenements. The line was finally torn down in 1942 because it was deteriorated and obsolete, and the cost of World War II made upkeep impossible. 2nd Avenue maintains its modest architectural character today, despite running through a number of high income areas.
A 2nd Avenue Subway line has been planned by the New York MTA since 1919. A subway line under 2nd Avenue would relieve congestion on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 5 6 <6>), currently the only line running up the East Side of Manhattan. A few short sections of the line have been completed over the years, with some serving other subway lines (the Grand Street Station is one example), and others simply sitting vacant underground (such as the unused upper level at the 2nd Avenue station). Portions of 2nd Avenue have been leased from time to time by New York Telephone to house equipment serving the company's principal north-south communication lines which run under the Avenue. Construction was begun again on April 12, 2007, on Phase 1 of a subway line that will eventually extend from 125th Street to the Financial District. Phase 1 2nd Avenue connects the currently unused BMT 63rd Street Line with the new line north to a station at 96th Street.