The section of lower Broadway from its origin at Bowling Green to City Hall Park is the historical location for the city's ticker-tape parades, and is sometimes called the "Canyon of Heroes" during such events. West of Broadway as far as Canal Street was the city's fashionable residential area until circa 1825; landfill has more than tripled the area and the Hudson shore now lies far to the west, beyond TriBeCa and Battery Park City.
Broadway marks the east boundary of Greenwich Village, passing Astor Place. It is a short walk from there to New York University near Washington Square Park, which is at the foot of Fifth Avenue. A bend in front of Grace Church allegedly avoids an earlier tavern; from 10th Street it begins its long diagonal course across Manhattan, headed almost due North.
At Herald Square, Broadway crosses Sixth Avenue (the Avenue of the Americas). Macy's Department Store is located on the western corner of Herald Square; it is one of the largest department stores in the world.
One famous stretch near Times Square, where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan, is the home of many Broadway theatres, housing an ever-changing array of commercial, large-scale plays, particularly musicals. This area of Manhattan is often called the Theater District or the Great White Way, a nickname originating in the headline "Found on the Great White Way" in the February 3 1902 edition of the New York Evening Telegram. The journalistic sobriquet was inspired by the millions of lights on theater marquees and billboard advertisements that illuminate the area.
After becoming New York's de facto Red Light District in the 1960s and 1970s (as can be seen in the films Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy), since the late 1980s Times Square has emerged as a family tourist center, in effect being Disneyfied following the company's purchase and renovation of the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street in 1993. Until June 2007, The New York Times, from which the Square gets its name, was published at offices at 239 West 43rd Street; the paper stopped printing papers there on June 15, 1997.
At the southwest corner of Central Park, Broadway crosses Eighth Avenue at West 59th Street; on the site of the unlamented New York Coliseum convention center is the new shopping center at the foot of the Time Warner Center, headquarters of Time Warner.
At the intersection of Columbus Avenue and West 65th Street, Broadway passes by the Juilliard School and Lincoln Center, both well-known performing arts landmarks, as well as a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon or LDS Church).
At the intersection with 72nd street, the triangle of tiny Verdi Square is surrounded by several notable apartment buildings, including The Ansonia.
At its intersection with 78th Street, Broadway shifts direction, to continue directly uptown aligned approximately with the Commissioners' grid. Past the bend are The Apthorp and the First Baptist Church in the City of New York (1891), built for a Baptist congregation in New York since 1762.
Further north, Broadway follows the old Bloomingdale Road as the main spine of the Upper West Side, passing the campus of Columbia University at 116th Street in Morningside Heights. Still in Morningside Heights, Broadway passes the handsome, park-like campus of Barnard College. Next, the beautiful gothic quadrangel of Union Theological Seminary and the brick buildings of the Jewish Theological Seminary with their beautifully-landscapped interior courtyards face one another across Broadway. On the next block is the Manhattan School of Music. Broadway then runs past the proposed uptown campus of Columbia University, and the main campus of CUNY—City College, the beautiful gothic buildings of the original City College campus are out of sight, a block to the east. Also to the east are the handsome brownstones of Hamilton Heights.
Broadway achieves a verdant, park-like effect, particularly in the spring, when it runs between the uptown Trinity Church Cemetery and the former Trinity Chapel, now the Church of the Intercession, New York near 155th Street. The springtime plantings in the median, maintained by Trinity Church, are spectacular.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital lies on Broadway near 166th, 167th, and 168th Streets in Washington Heights. At this point, Broadway becomes part of US 9. The intersection with Saint Nicholas Avenue (Manhattan), at 167th Street forms Mitchell Square Park.
Broadway crosses the Harlem River on the Broadway Bridge to Marble Hill and then enters The Bronx, where it is the eastern border of Riverdale and the western border of Van Cortlandt Park. After leaving New York City, it is the main north-south street of Yonkers, New York.
Early street railways on Broadway included the Broadway and Seventh Avenue Railroad's Broadway and University Place Line (1864?) between Union Square (14th Street) and Times Square (42nd Street), the Ninth Avenue Railroad's Ninth and Amsterdam Avenues Line (1884) between 65th Street and 71st Street, the Forty-second Street, Manhattanville and St. Nicholas Avenue Railway's Broadway Branch Line (1885?) between Times Square and 125th Street, and the Kingsbridge Railway's Kingsbridge Line north of 169th Street. The Broadway Surface Railroad's Broadway Line, a cable car line, opened on lower Broadway (below Times Square) in 1893, and soon became the core of the Metropolitan Street Railway, with two cable branches: the Broadway and Lexington Avenue Line and Broadway and Columbus Avenue Line.
These streetcar lines were replaced with bus routes in the 1930s and 1940s. Before Broadway became one-way, the main bus routes along it were the New York City Omnibus Company's (NYCO) 6 (Broadway below Times Square), 7 (Broadway and Columbus Avenue), and 11 (Ninth and Amsterdam Avenues), and the Surface Transportation Corporation's M100 (Kingsbridge) and M104 (Broadway Branch). Additionally, the Fifth Avenue Coach Company's (FACCo) 4 and 5 used Broadway from 135th Street north to Washington Heights, and their 5 and 6 used Broadway between 57th Street and 72nd Street. With the implementation of one-way traffic, the northbound 6 and 7 were moved to Sixth Avenue.
As of 2007, Broadway is now served by the M1 (used Lafayette Street until that became one-way), M4 (ex-FACCo 4), M5 (ex-FACCo 5), M6 (ex-NYCO 6), M7 (ex-NYCO 7), M100, and M104. Other routes that use part of Broadway include the M10, M20, M27, M60, Bx7, and Bx20.
Great White Way is a nickname for a section of Broadway in the Midtown section of the New York City borough of Manhattan, specifically the portion that encompasses the Theatre District, between 42nd and 53rd Streets. Nearly a mile of Broadway was illuminated in 1880 by Brush arc lamps, making it among the first electrically lighted streets in the United States.
The headline "Found on the Great White Way" appeared in the February 3, 1902, edition of the New York Evening Telegram. The journalistic sobriquet was inspired by the millions of lights on theater marquees and billboard advertisements that illuminate the area, especially around Times Square.
In August 2008 two traffic lanes from 42nd to 35th Streets were taken out of service and converted to public plazas.
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