Manhattan's Avenues: Sixth Avenue

Manhattan Travel Blog

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AVENUE FACTS
Name: Sixth Avenue
Alternative names: Avenue of the Americas, East Drive, Lenox Avenue, Malcolm X Boulevard
Traffic direction: South -> North until 110th Street, then bi-directional
Length: 5.9 + 5.2 + 3.0 = 14.1km (8.8 miles)
North-boundary: W147th St
South-boundary: Franklin St / Church St
Number of cross streets: 116
Avenue number towards 89th St.: 10
Specifics: SoHo, Greenwich Village, The Limelight Shopping Mall, Historic Ladies' Mile, Bryant Park, Skyscraper Alley, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, Cleopatra's Needle, Central Park Reservoir, Lasker Ice Rink, Harlem Meer, Lenox Ave
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I am almost running out of avenues.

Near W8th Street
As far as I can see I am only missing two short ones: East End and 13th Avenues, the really big one (which is strictly seen not an avenue): Broadway, and Sixth Avenue!

Officially Sixth Ave does not exist anymore it was officially renamed Avenue of the Americas in 1945. This "new" name is, however, hardly used. One would only see it on buildings, Sixth Avenue is, of course, much easier to pronounce and remember. The section north of Central Park had already been renamed Lenox Avenue in 1887 after the 19th century philanthropist James Lenox and it was co-named Malcolm-X Boulevard after Malcolm Little (also know as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) the human right activist that was assassinated in Harlem in 1965.

Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Finally, there is an unofficial part of the avenue that crosses through Central Park, the East Drive.

Sixth Ave originally terminated at Carmine Street in Greenwich Village, but was extended in the early 1900s to facilitate better access to southern Manhattan and the Holland Tunnel. This was quite a dramatic and impacting activity, ten thousands of residents of the affected area, had to move, and even a whole church was demolished to provide space for the avenue.

In 1878 a "dark" era commenced for Sixth with the construction of the Sixth Avenue Elevated (railroad) which blocked all the sunlight and decreased the value of the avenue. When the "el" was removed 50 years later the avenue started growing, bit-by-bit, into the nice avenue which we know nowadays. Sixth still has a lot of public transport, the four orange subway lines of the IND Sixth Avenue Line as well as the other subway of New York, the PATH train run below its surface.

Near W120th Street
 In the sixties the part north of 42nd Street started getting many skyscrapers for corporate offices, a recent addition to this collection is the 366-meter (1200 ft) high Bank of America Tower at 42nd Street.

Sixth starts a bit strange with a diagonal North-West movement. Only after W4th Street the avenue picks up its straight line parallel to the other avenues. The first section is in the pleasant atmosphere of SoHo and Greenwich Village. Around 18th Street, in the Ladies' Mile Historic District are many old warehouses. These once luxury warehouses had been vacant for a long time, and almost be demolished. As per the 1990s they are in use again, now shared by many independent businesses.

Another curiosity which eventually took the same course of being shared is at 20th Street, the Limelight Shopping Mall.

W124th Street
It was once a church, then a very obscure drug-infested night club, and now a neat little shopping mall. See also this blog.

The Central Park section is just a nice stroll through the park. Lenox Avenue (Malcolm X Blvd) shows a completely different character of the avenue. It is broader, two-way traffic, has less business and no skyscrapers. That does not mean it is less interesting. Really beautiful Harlem brownstone houses and impressive churches are flanking the avenue. Unfortunately, like many sites in Harlem, there are also still many building that are on the verge of collapsing, being burnt or abandoned.

"Sixth" / Lenox Avenue ends at 147th street in a dull and ugly MTA lot. Fortunately the many miles before that made up for this ugly end!

More pictures below!

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Near W8th Street
Near W8th Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Near W120th Street
Near W120th Street
W124th Street
W124th Street
The south border at Franklin Stree…
The south border at Franklin Stre…
In the diagonal first leg of the t…
In the diagonal first leg of the …
A few blocks later Sixth Aven is f…
A few blocks later Sixth Aven is …
The first block, near White Street
The first block, near White Street
Near Walker Street
Near Walker Street
Near Walker Street
Near Walker Street
One of the many subway lines that …
One of the many subway lines that…
Juan Pablo Duarte (1813-1876), the…
Juan Pablo Duarte (1813-1876), th…
Near Canal Street
Near Canal Street
Specially photographed for my coll…
Specially photographed for my col…
Near King Street
Near King Street
King Street
King Street
I did not know New York had a Down…
I did not know New York had a Dow…
The IND Sixth Avenue Line (Orange)…
The IND Sixth Avenue Line (Orange…
At W4th Street Sixth Ave is finall…
At W4th Street Sixth Ave is final…
Near W9th Street
Near W9th Street
Near W9th Street
Near W9th Street
Near W9th Street
Near W9th Street
Near W15th Street
Near W15th Street
On of the shops in the historic La…
On of the shops in the historic L…
W20th Street
W20th Street
The Limelight Mall, W20th Street
The Limelight Mall, W20th Street
On of the shops in the historic La…
On of the shops in the historic L…
Skyscrapers at W23rd Street
Skyscrapers at W23rd Street
Near W23rd Street
Near W23rd Street
Skyscrapers near W25th Street
Skyscrapers near W25th Street
W29th Street
W29th Street
The Empire State Building is just …
The Empire State Building is just…
Herald Square, W32nd Street
Herald Square, W32nd Street
The Empire State Building at W33rd…
The Empire State Building at W33r…
Herald Square / Broadway / W34th S…
Herald Square / Broadway / W34th …
W35th Street
W35th Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bank of America Tower, W42nd Street
Bank of America Tower, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
Bryant Park, W42nd Street
W42nd Street
W42nd Street
W42nd Street, note the Chrysler Bu…
W42nd Street, note the Chrysler B…
W42nd Street
W42nd Street
W42nd Street
W42nd Street
W49th Street
W49th Street
Rockefeller Center at W49th Street
Rockefeller Center at W49th Street
Rockefeller Center at W49th Street
Rockefeller Center at W49th Street
Radio City Music Hall at W50th Str…
Radio City Music Hall at W50th St…
Radio City Music Hall at W50th Str…
Radio City Music Hall at W50th St…
View back on buildings at W49th St…
View back on buildings at W49th S…
Near 50th Street
Near 50th Street
On the East Drive in Central Park
On the East Drive in Central Park
On the East Drive in Central Park
On the East Drive in Central Park
Metropolitan Museum, seen from the…
Metropolitan Museum, seen from th…
Cleopatras Needle, seen from the …
Cleopatra's Needle, seen from the…
Cleopatras Needle, seen from the …
Cleopatra's Needle, seen from the…
Jacky Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, s…
Jacky Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, …
Jewish Museum at 5th Avenue / E92n…
Jewish Museum at 5th Avenue / E92…
Near 105th Street, seen from the E…
Near 105th Street, seen from the …
Near 105th Street, seen from the E…
Near 105th Street, seen from the …
Lasker Ice Rink Central Park, at 1…
Lasker Ice Rink Central Park, at …
Lasker Ice Rink Central Park, at 1…
Lasker Ice Rink Central Park, at …
Harlem Meer Central Park, near 110…
Harlem Meer Central Park, near 11…
Lenox Avenue / Malcolm X Boulevard…
Lenox Avenue / Malcolm X Boulevar…
W111th Street
W111th Street
W111th Street
W111th Street
One road, two names!
One road, two names!
W117th Street
W117th Street
W119th street
W119th street
W121th Street
W121th Street
W121th Street
W121th Street
W122th Street
W122th Street
W123th Street
W123th Street
Near W123th Street
Near W123th Street
W132nd Street
W132nd Street
W137th Street
W137th Street
The north border at W147th Street
The north border at W147th Street
Looking south along Lenox Ave from…
Looking south along Lenox Ave fro…
Sixth Avenue in the times of the E…
Sixth Avenue in the times of the …
Manhattan
photo by: Fitnessguru729