Amsterdam Avenue


View Larger Map


Amsterdam Avenue known as Tenth Avenue, north of 59th Street, is a north-south thoroughfare on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Amsterdam Avenue carries uptown (northbound) traffic as far as West 110th Street, also known as Cathedral Parkway for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. At this point, it continues as a two-way street.

Amsterdam Avenue / Tenth Avenue begins at West 13th Street and the West Side Highway in the West Village / Meatpacking District and it runs uptown (northbound) for 47 blocks until its intersection with West 59th Street, where it is re-signed (like the other West Side avenues) as Amsterdam Avenue but continues without interruption.
As Amsterdam Avenue, the thoroughfare stretches 129 blocks north before reaching Highbridge Park at West 190th Street, where the roadway is briefly renamed Fort George Avenue before it terminates. The street narrows to one lane in each direction as it passes through the campus of Yeshiva University's Wilf Campus, between 184th and 186th streets. Following the roadway's interruption by Highbridge Park, it resumes in the same line as Tenth Avenue, running for slightly less than a mile, from Dyckman Street to the intersection of West 218th Street and Broadway, near the extreme northern tip of the island of Manhattan and the Broadway Bridge, which crosses the Harlem River.
The segment south of Highbridge Park, running a total of 177 blocks, is the longest continuous avenue in Manhattan, excluding Broadway, the West Side Highway and the FDR Drive (none of which is strictly an avenue).

Amsterdam Avenue / Tenth Avenue runs through the Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen neighborhoods on the west side of Manhattan, long one of the city's poorer neighborhoods. The street was noted for its commercial traffic, and had grade-level railroad lines through the early 20th Century. In the 19th century when the West Side Line ran along the Avenue, a "Tenth Avenue Cowboy" was paid to ride a horse and warn people of an approaching street running train. The lines were late placed on elevated lines above street level.
"Amsterdam Avenue" was intended to recall the Dutch roots of Manhattan's earliest colonization in the 17th century. According to Sarah Feirstein's Naming New York What is now Amsterdam Avenue was laid out in the 1811 Commissioners' Plan as 10th Avenue and opened from 59th Street to Fort George Avenue in 1816. The name was changed in 1890 in a bid on the part of Upper West Side landowners to confer a measure of old-world cachet to their real estate investments in an area that had yet to catch on. The new avenue name supported the speculators' claim that this section would become "the New City" and a "new, New Amsterdam."[1]
During the real estate boom of the late 20th century, Amsterdam from 59th Street to 100th Street became one of New York's most expensive residential districts.

Amsterdam Avenue In popular culture
The Rodgers & Hart play On Your Toes (1936) included the comic dance number "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue," performed by Ray Bolger and Tamara Geva. It was later performed on stage, film and television. It has been performed by the New York City Ballet, and was featured in the film version of On Your Toes, danced by Eddie Albert and Vera Zorina. In the biographical musical Words and Music (1948), a "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" ballet sequence is performed by Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen,
In How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby is said to have lived near the corner of 75th Street of Amsterdam Avenue.
In Donald E. Westlake's Dortmunder series of crime novels the fictional O.J. Bar and Grill, the gang's favorite meeting place, is located on Amsterdam Avenue.

Amsterdam Avenue Notable sites
Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
City College of New York
Columbia University
John Jay College
St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center
LaGuardia High School
New York Presbyterian Medical Center
Yeshiva University