Park Avenue

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This article is about the avenue in Manhattan and the Bronx. Park Avenue_sentence_0

For other uses, see Park Avenue (disambiguation). Park Avenue_sentence_1

Park Avenue_table_infobox_0

Park AvenuePark Avenue_table_caption_0
Former name(s)Park Avenue_header_cell_0_0_0 Fourth AvenuePark Avenue_cell_0_0_1
OwnerPark Avenue_header_cell_0_1_0 City of New YorkPark Avenue_cell_0_1_1
Maintained byPark Avenue_header_cell_0_2_0 NYCDOTPark Avenue_cell_0_2_1
LengthPark Avenue_header_cell_0_3_0 10.9 mi (17.5 km)Park Avenue_cell_0_3_1
LocationPark Avenue_header_cell_0_4_0 Manhattan and The Bronx, New York CityPark Avenue_cell_0_4_1
South endPark Avenue_header_cell_0_5_0 Astor Place in Cooper SquarePark Avenue_cell_0_5_1

junctionsPark Avenue_header_cell_0_6_0

Park Avenue Tunnel and Viaduct in East Midtown
Harlem River Drive in East HarlemPark Avenue_cell_0_6_1
North endPark Avenue_header_cell_0_7_0 Third Avenue in FordhamPark Avenue_cell_0_7_1
EastPark Avenue_header_cell_0_8_0 Lexington AvenuePark Avenue_cell_0_8_1
WestPark Avenue_header_cell_0_9_0 Madison AvenuePark Avenue_cell_0_9_1
ConstructionPark Avenue_header_cell_0_10_0
CommissionedPark Avenue_header_cell_0_11_0 March 1811Park Avenue_cell_0_11_1

Park Avenue is a wide New York City boulevard which carries north and southbound traffic in the borough of Manhattan. Park Avenue_sentence_2

For most of the road's length in Manhattan, it runs parallel to Madison Avenue to the west and Lexington Avenue to the east. Park Avenue_sentence_3

Park Avenue's entire length was formerly called Fourth Avenue; the title still applies to the section between the Bowery and 14th Street. Park Avenue_sentence_4

The avenue is called Union Square East between 14th and 17th Streets, and Park Avenue South between 17th and 32nd Streets. Park Avenue_sentence_5

History Park Avenue_section_0

Early years and railroad construction Park Avenue_section_1

Park Avenue was originally known as Fourth Avenue and carried the tracks of the New York and Harlem Railroad starting in the 1830s. Park Avenue_sentence_6

The railroad originally ran through an open cut through Murray Hill, which was covered with grates and grass between 34th and 40th Street in the early 1850s. Park Avenue_sentence_7

A section of this "park" was later renamed Park Avenue in 1860, and the name was later applied to the segment between Union Square and 42nd Street. Park Avenue_sentence_8

The Harlem Railroad was later incorporated into the New York Central Railroad, and a terminal for the New York Central at 42nd Street, the Grand Central Depot, opened in 1871. Park Avenue_sentence_9

But the tracks laid to the new terminal proved problematic. Park Avenue_sentence_10

There were originally no grade-separated crossings of the railroads between 42nd and 59th Streets. Park Avenue_sentence_11

As such, they required railroad crossings along Fourth Avenue, which resulted in frequent accidents; seven people died within 12 days of the Hudson River Railroad's move to Grand Central. Park Avenue_sentence_12

In 1872, shortly after the opening of Grand Central Depot, New York Central owner Cornelius Vanderbilt proposed the Fourth Avenue Improvement Project. Park Avenue_sentence_13

The tracks between 48th and 56th Streets were to be moved into a shallow open cut, while the segment between 56th and 97th Streets, which was in a rock cut, would be covered over. Park Avenue_sentence_14

After the improvements were completed in 1874, the railroads, approaching Grand Central Depot from the north, descended into the Park Avenue Tunnel at 96th Street and continued underground into the new depot. Park Avenue_sentence_15

As part of the project, Fourth Avenue was transformed into a boulevard with a median strip that covered the railroad's ventilation grates. Park Avenue_sentence_16

Eight footbridges crossed the tracks between 45th and 56th Streets, and there were also vehicular overpasses at 45th and 48th Streets. Park Avenue_sentence_17

The boulevard north of Grand Central was renamed Park Avenue in 1888. Park Avenue_sentence_18

Grand Central and Terminal City Park Avenue_section_2

A fatal collision between two trains occurred under Park Avenue in 1902, in part because the smoke coming from the steam trains obscured the signals. Park Avenue_sentence_19

The New York state legislature subsequently passed a law to ban all steam trains in Manhattan. Park Avenue_sentence_20

By December 1902, as part of an agreement with the city, New York Central agreed to put the approach to Grand Central Station from 46th to 59th Streets in an open cut under Park Avenue, and to upgrade the tracks to accommodate electric trains. Park Avenue_sentence_21

Overpasses would be built across the open cut at most of the cross-streets. Park Avenue_sentence_22

The new electric-train terminal, Grand Central Terminal, was opened in 1913. Park Avenue_sentence_23

After the electric trains were buried underground, the area around Park Avenue in the vicinity of Grand Central was developed into several blocks worth of prime real estate called Terminal City. Park Avenue_sentence_24

Stretching from 42nd to 51st Streets between Madison and Lexington Avenues, it came to include the Chrysler Building and other prestigious office buildings; luxury apartment houses along Park Avenue; and an array of high-end hotels that included the Marguery, Park Lane, and Waldorf Astoria. Park Avenue_sentence_25

In 1929, New York Central built its headquarters in a 34-story building (now called the Helmsley Building), straddling Park Avenue north of the terminal. Park Avenue_sentence_26

The Park Avenue Viaduct reroutes Park Avenue around Grand Central Terminal between 40th and 46th Streets, allowing Park Avenue traffic to traverse around the building and over 42nd Street without encumbering nearby streets. Park Avenue_sentence_27

The western (now southbound) leg of the viaduct was completed in 1919, but congestion developed soon after the viaduct's opening, so an eastern leg for northbound traffic was added in 1928. Park Avenue_sentence_28

Later years Park Avenue_section_3

In 1927, the medians on Park Avenue north of Grand Central were trimmed to add one lane of traffic in each direction. Park Avenue_sentence_29

This project eliminated the pedestrian path on the medians, as they became much narrower. Park Avenue_sentence_30

The median was extended by one block from 96th Street to 97th Street in 1941, creating the only remaining median on Park Avenue with a pedestrian path and seating. Park Avenue_sentence_31

In the 1920s the portion of Park Avenue from Grand Central to 96th Street saw extensive apartment building construction. Park Avenue_sentence_32

This long stretch of the avenue contains some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Park Avenue_sentence_33

Real estate at 740 Park Avenue, for example, sells for several thousand dollars per square foot. Park Avenue_sentence_34

In October 1937, a part of the Murray Hill Tunnel was reopened for road traffic. Park Avenue_sentence_35

Efforts to promote a Grand Park Avenue Expressway to Grand Concourse in the Bronx were unsuccessful. Park Avenue_sentence_36

A tradition was introduced in 1945 as a memorial to American soldiers killed in action, whereby Christmas trees are placed in the median and lit up on the first Sunday in December at Brick Presbyterian Church. Park Avenue_sentence_37

On May 5, 1959, the New York City Council voted 20–1 to change the name of Fourth Avenue between 17th and 32nd Streets to Park Avenue South. Park Avenue_sentence_38

The renaming, along with a ban on overhanging signs along the newly renamed Park Avenue South, was intended to improve the character of the avenue. Park Avenue_sentence_39

The Pan Am Building (now MetLife Building), in between the Park Avenue Viaduct's legs north of Grand Central Terminal, was opened in 1963. Park Avenue_sentence_40

On March 12, 2014, two apartment buildings near 116th Street, 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue, were destroyed in a gas explosion. Park Avenue_sentence_41

Eight people were killed and many others were injured. Park Avenue_sentence_42

Route Park Avenue_section_4

Manhattan Park Avenue_section_5

"Park Avenue South" redirects here. Park Avenue_sentence_43

For the street of the same name in Buffalo, New York, see South Park Avenue. Park Avenue_sentence_44

The road that becomes Park Avenue originates at the Bowery. Park Avenue_sentence_45

From Cooper Square at 8th Street to Union Square at 14th Street, it is known as Fourth Avenue, a 70-foot-wide (21 m) road carrying northbound traffic. Park Avenue_sentence_46

At 14th Street, it turns slightly northeast to align with other avenues drawn up in the Commissioners' Plan of 1811. Park Avenue_sentence_47

From 14th Street to 17th Street, it forms the eastern boundary of Union Square and is known as Union Square East; its southbound lanes merge with Broadway south of 15th Street, and the thoroughfare divides into two distinct portions in the one-block section between 14th and 15th Streets. Park Avenue_sentence_48

From 17th Street to 32nd Street, it is known as Park Avenue South. Park Avenue_sentence_49

Above 32nd Street, for the remainder of its distance, it is known as Park Avenue, a 140-foot-wide boulevard. Park Avenue_sentence_50

Between 33rd Street and 40th Street, the left-hand northbound lane descends into the Murray Hill Tunnel. Park Avenue_sentence_51

Immediately across from 40th Street, the center lanes of Park Avenue rise onto an elevated structure that goes around Grand Central Terminal and the MetLife Building (formerly the PanAm Building), carrying each direction of traffic on opposite sides of the buildings. Park Avenue_sentence_52

The bridge, one of two structures in Manhattan known as the Park Avenue Viaduct, returns to ground level at 46th Street after going through the Helmsley Building (also referred to as the New York Central Building or 230 Park Avenue). Park Avenue_sentence_53

The IRT Lexington Avenue Line runs under this portion of the street. Park Avenue_sentence_54

Once the line reaches Grand Central–42nd Street, it shifts east to Lexington Avenue. Park Avenue_sentence_55

As Park Avenue enters Midtown north of Grand Central Terminal, it is distinguished by many glass-box skyscrapers that serve as headquarters for corporations and investment banks such as Société Générale, JPMorgan Chase at 270 Park Avenue and 277 Park Avenue, UBS at 299 Park Avenue, Citigroup, Colgate-Palmolive, and MetLife at the MetLife Building. Park Avenue_sentence_56

Prior to July 2010, the eleven intersections between 46th Street and 56th Street lacked the city's usual pedestrian crossing signals and overhead gantry-mounted traffic lights, because the railroad tunnel ceiling, which is also the street, was not thick enough for their poles' foundations. Park Avenue_sentence_57

(These intersections did, however, have upright pole-mounted traffic lights prior to 2010, but there were no pedestrian signals. Park Avenue_sentence_58

After 2010, standard gantry-mounted traffic lights and pedestrian "countdown" signals were installed.) Park Avenue_sentence_59

From 47th to 97th Streets, the tracks for Metro-North Railroad's Park Avenue main line run in the Park Avenue Tunnel underneath Park Avenue. Park Avenue_sentence_60

At 97th Street, the tracks come above ground, rising onto the other Manhattan structure known as the Park Avenue Viaduct. Park Avenue_sentence_61

The first street to pass under the viaduct is 102nd Street; from there to the Harlem River the railroad viaduct runs down the middle of Park Avenue. Park Avenue_sentence_62

Park Avenue in Manhattan ends north of 132nd Street, with connections to the Harlem River Drive. Park Avenue_sentence_63

The flowers and greenery in the median of Manhattan's Park Avenue are privately maintained, by the Fund for Park Avenue. Park Avenue_sentence_64

The begonia was specifically chosen by the Fund's gardeners because there is no automatic watering system and the floral variety is resilient under hot sun rays. Park Avenue_sentence_65

The Bronx Park Avenue_section_6

The avenue is continued on the other side of the river in the Bronx. Park Avenue_sentence_66

In the Bronx, Park Avenue begins at East 135th Street in the Mott Haven neighborhood. Park Avenue_sentence_67

The entire avenue is divided by Metro-North's own right of way in the borough. Park Avenue_sentence_68

Between East 135th Street to East 173rd Street, Park Avenue is one way only in either direction in most sections. Park Avenue_sentence_69

North of East 173rd Street it is a two way avenue continuing to Fordham Plaza where it ends. Park Avenue_sentence_70

Businesses Park Avenue_section_7

The following institutions are either headquartered or have significant business presences on Park Avenue: Park Avenue_sentence_71

Park Avenue_unordered_list_0

Notable structures Park Avenue_section_8

In north-south order: Park Avenue_sentence_72

In popular culture Park Avenue_section_9

Park Avenue_unordered_list_1

  • In the 2020 miniseries The UndoingPark Avenue_item_1_47
  • In the 2012 film The Avengers, the climax takes place on the Park Avenue Viaduct.Park Avenue_item_1_48
  • In the TV series The Odd Couple, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison live at 1049 Park Avenue.Park Avenue_item_1_49
  • In the TV series Diff'rent Strokes, Phillip Drummond, with his daughter, Kimberly and adopted sons, Willis and Arnold Jackson live at 697 Park Avenue.Park Avenue_item_1_50
  • In The Simpsons episode "E-I-E-I-D'oh", Homer is ridiculed by two farmers outside Sneed's Feed & Seed (Formerly Chuck's) for having a "Park Avenue manicure". Homer responds by saying "I'm sorry, I believe in good grooming".Park Avenue_item_1_51
  • The PBS documentary Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream sheds light on the gap between the impoverished people living on Park Avenue in the South Bronx and the extremely wealthy living at 740 Park Avenue in Manhattan.Park Avenue_item_1_52
  • In the song "Youth Gone Wild" by American band Skid Row, Park Avenue is mentioned in the lyrics: "I said 'Hey man, there's something that you oughta know. / I tell ya Park Avenue leads to Skid Row.'"Park Avenue_item_1_53
  • The stage and film musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying takes place in the fictional "Park Avenue office building of World Wide Wicket Company, Inc."Park Avenue_item_1_54
  • General Motors borrowed the name of the street for the Buick Park Avenue, a large luxury sedan that was produced first as the premium trim line for the Buick Electra from 1977 to 1990, and as a standalone model from 1991 to 2005.Park Avenue_item_1_55
  • In the intro to the late 1960s - early 1970s TV show Green Acres, Eva Gabor's character sings "Darling I love you, but give me Park Avenue!", where she lived before moving to rural Hooterville with her husband, the lawyer-turned-farmer.Park Avenue_item_1_56
  • The song "Puttin' On the Ritz", from the film Blue Skies (1946), refers to affluent people strutting "up and down Park Avenue".Park Avenue_item_1_57
  • In the 2017 video game Sonic Forces, one of the main stage takes place on Park Avenue, the stage re-imagined as a war zone.Park Avenue_item_1_58
  • In the second season of Riverdale, one of the main characters from the show, Veronica Lodge is said to have lived on Park Avenue when she was back in New York City.Park Avenue_item_1_59
  • In the multi-platinum 1989 hit single Youth Gone Wild the lyrics of the song have a famous line that says "I'll tell ya Park Avenue leads to Skid Row"Park Avenue_item_1_60

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Avenue.