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Encyclopedia > Fifth Avenue
Street sign at Fifth Avenue and East 57th street
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Street sign at Fifth Avenue and East 57th street

Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare in New York City. It runs through the heart of Midtown and along the eastern side of Central Park and is a symbol of ritzy New York.


Fifth Avenue extends from the north side of Washington Square Park through Greenwich Village, Midtown, the Upper East Side, Spanish Harlem, Harlem, and into The Bronx. It is the zero-numbering point of the east-west streets in Manhattan and the Bronx; numbers increase in both directions as one moves away from Fifth Avenue. Fifth Avenue is a one-way street and carries southbound traffic.


Many landmarks and famous buildings are situated along Fifth Avenue in Midtown and the Upper East Side. In Midtown are the Empire State Building, New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. The stretch of Fifth Avenue in the 60s through the 90s has enough museums to have acquired the nickname Museum Mile and includes such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. That area was known in the early 20th century as Millionaire's Row after the many mansions built there as the richest New Yorkers moved their residences north to face Central Park. Earlier, several opulent Vanderbilt houses and other mansions were built in the 50s and in even earlier times further south.


Between 60th Street and 34th Street Fifth Avenue is a popular retail epicenter, with various luxury stores facing that street, most notably F.A.O. Schwarz on 58th Street.


Fifth Avenue is the traditional route for many celebratory parades in New York City; thus, it is closed to traffic on numerous Sundays in warm weather. These are distinct from the ticker-tape parades held on the "Canyon of Heroes" on lower Broadway.


See also


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