6th Avenue


View Larger Map

6th Avenue is officially Avenue of the Americas, and a major avenue in New York City's borough of Manhattan. It is a commercial thoroughfare for most of its length, and traverses SoHo, Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Midtown Manhattan. Traffic on 6th Avenue runs northbound.

6th Avenue's northern end is at Central Park South, adjacent to the Artists Gate traffic entrance to Central Park at Center Drive. The portion of 6th Avenue running north of Central Park was renamed Lenox Avenue in 1887 and co-named Malcolm X Boulevard in 1987, which is sometimes a source of confusion.

Some popular Sights along 6th Avenue include Duarte Square, Juan Pablo , Greenwich Village with the polychrome High Victorian Gothic Jefferson Market Courthouse, currently occupied by the Jefferson Market Library; the surviving stretch of department stores of 1880 to 1900 that runs from 18th Street to 23rd Street; the former wholesale flower district; Herald Square at 34th Street, site of Macy's department store; Bryant Park (40th to 42nd Streets) followed by the corporate above 42nd Street: Bank of America Tower (New York), W. R. Grace Building, Rockefeller Center, including the Time-Life Building, News Corp. Building Exxon Building, McGraw-Hill Building, Radio City Music Hall International and Center of Photography.
6th Avenue is the site of an annual Halloween parade in Greenwich Village.
Under LaGuardia's original urbanistic proposal, Avenue of the Americas would have started at Battery Park, going up to Greenwich Street, Trinity Place, Church Street, and then continuing up 6th Avenue.

6th is Actually Avenue of the Americas
The avenue's official name was changed to Avenue of the Americas in September 1945 by the City Council, at the behest of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. It was felt at the time that the name would provide greater grandeur to a shabby street, and to promote trade with the Western Hemisphere.
After the name change, round street signs were attached to streetlights on the avenue, showing the national seals of all the nations in the Western Hemisphere.
Demolition of the el resulted in accelerated commercial development of the avenue in Midtown. Beginning in the 1960s, the avenue was entirely rebuilt above 42nd Street as an all-but-uninterrupted avenue of corporate headquarters housed in glass slab towers of International Modernist style. Among the buildings constructed was the CBS Building at 52nd Street, by Eero Saarinen (1965), dubbed "Black Rock" from its dark granite piers that run from base to crown with a break; this designated landmark is Saarinen's only skyscraper. In the mid-1970s, the city "spruced up" the street, including the addition of patterned brick crosswalks, repainting of streetlamps, and new pedestrian plazas. Special lighting, which is rare through most of the city, was also installed.
New Yorkers seldom used the avenue's new name, and the street was signed as both "Avenue of the Americas" and "6th Avenue" in recent years. Most of the old round signs with country emblems were gone by the late 1990s, and the ones remaining were showing signs of age.

6th Avenue, Avenue of the Americas extension
As originally designed, 6th Avenue terminated at Carmine Street in Greenwich Village. Proposals to extend the street south from that point, to allow easier to access to lower Manhattan, were discussed by the city's former Board of Aldermen as early as the mid-1860s.
The extension was carried out in the mid-1920s, to ease traffic in the Holland Tunnel, facilitate construction of the IND Eighth Avenue Line and to connect with Church Street near its northern end, forming a continuous four-lane through route for traffic from Lower Manhattan.
Construction of the extension resulted in considerable dislocation to existing residents. One historian said that "ten thousand people were displaced, most of them Italian immigrants who knew no other home in America". The WPA Guide to New York City said that the extension resulted in blank side walls facing the "uninspiring thoroughfare" and small leftover spaces. Dozens of buildings, including The Church of Our Lady of Pompeii, were demolished.

6th Avenue is served by the IND 6th Avenue subway line (B D F M trains). The PATH to New Jersey also runs under 6th Avenue (JSQ–33 HOB-33 trains) as far as 33rd Street.

6th Avenue was laid out in the Commissioners' Plan of 1811.
The elevated IRT 6th Avenue Line was constructed on 6th Avenue in 1878, darkening the street and reducing its real-estate value. The "el" came down in stages, beginning in Greenwich Village in 1938-39.