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57th Street, river to river


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When the city fathers created a street grid for Manhattan early in the 19th century, they had in mind ease of development and not aesthetics. Hence, an unintended, but welcome result is that Manhattan is hard to get lost except in certain areas that pre-dated the grid. Looking at a map, one would not think that it's a city for casual wandering or random discovery. The grid looks boring. But, there are surprises, even as one walks the straight and narrow. Neighborhoods did not form along strict lines. One of the best ways to experience the variety is to choose a street, walk its length and observe the change in character. In Manhattan, the north-south streets are the Avenues, some of which have names like Park Avenue, or Broadway, while the east-west streets are usually numbered, although there are exceptions, like Houston and Canal Streets. For most of the borough, Fifth Avenue is the dividing line between east and west.

 

One of my favorite streets is 57th Street. I am going to walk its length, with the camera in hand, beginning at the easternmost end, east of Sutton Place all the way to 12th Avenue and report on some of the things I see.

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Hence, an unintended, but welcome result is that Manhattan is hard to get lost except in certain areas that pre-dated the grid.

You just haven't met the right people. :blink: I know one or two who are more than capable of getting lost north of 14th street. It's really quite pathetic.

 

Several years ago the NY Times did a piece about 57th street and focused on how the ambience changes as you walk along it. They did a similar piece on Spring Street as well. It's a great idea, I look forward to reading about your observations.

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Guest Suzanne F

JJ Goode has done at least one piece for Time Out New York on a river-to-river of some street (sorry, can't remember which). His article only picked out "highlights" according to the interests of TONY readers. I'll bet your post will be a lot more varied.

 

And what a great street to choose: from the ritziest to the most workaday! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

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Great. You'll be able to give us the answer to "how do you get to Carnegie Hall"? when you're through. Feel free to stop by and say hello to my dentist and my wife -- both ply their trades in offices (several blocks apart, thank you) on 57th St. The "Brooklyn Diner" is very photogenic.

 

Besides Houston St., 42nd St. is a pretty good walk as well; maybe my favorite, especially given the archetectural & population mix. Great idea. I love living in a "walking city", dont you?

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Not river-to-river, of course, but a walk up Broadway from 14th to 47th streets transcends about 150 years of architecture. Brick and cast iron to extruded aluminum and glass.

 

About 150 years of commerce, too. From the 1850s ritzy stores and sweatshops to global media centers

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One of my favorite streets is 57th Street.  I am going to walk its length, with the camera in hand,  beginning at the easternmost end, east of Sutton Place all the way to 12th Avenue and report on some of the things I see.

A very interesting idea.

 

A little off topic, but pertinent nonetheless: Are you going to eat along the way? (Your plan reminded me of a chap on CH (I'm sure it was there, around 5 yrs ago) who ate in all the restaurants along one street.)

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I agree that most of the major cross-town streets would be fun to do. I chose 57th to do first because I like it and it's convenient for me. The class ahead of mine in Columbia's preservation program had 57th Street, river to river as its studio/study project. They were focused solely on the architecture. In NYC, everything changes quite rapidly over time. Even though it's not a brand new idea, it's worth doing every few years, because nothing stays the same. I'm going to take a look at a couple of blocks at a time.

 

I wasn't planning to eat, but I will note restaurants of possible interest.

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What a great idea, Lippy. I look forward to your report, especially pictures.

 

I had a great aunt who had a pretty swell apartment on W 57th. My first visit to the city – when I was about 11 – comprised a visit to Aunt Nell's apt. and a trip to the Met. Very intimidating for a kid from the South.

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Guest Suzanne F

I'll bet if you asked anyone here who lives or used to live in NYC, we will all have some connection to 57th beyond the obvious of Carnegie Hall, RTR, and (the relocated) Coliseum Books. For example: I had my wisdom teeth out at an oral surgeon on 57th. :blink: (note the spaces at the back of the mouth)

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I'll bet if you asked anyone here who lives or used to live in NYC, we will all have some connection to 57th beyond the obvious of Carnegie Hall, RTR, and (the relocated) Coliseum Books. For example: I had my wisdom teeth out at an oral surgeon on 57th. :blink: (note the spaces at the back of the mouth)

Wider, please?

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