42nd Street (Manhattan)

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42nd Street is a major crosstown street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, known for its theatres, especially near the intersection with Broadway at Times Square. It is also the name of the region of the theater district (and, at times, the red-light district) near that intersection. The street has held a special place in the mind of New Yorkers since at least the turn of the 20th century, and hosts some of New York's most important buildings, including (east to west) the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The corner of 42nd Street and Broadway, at the southeast corner of Times Square, is the eastern terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the United States of America, which was conceived and mapped in 1913. The Lincoln Highway proceeded west on 42nd Street to the Weehawken Ferry. After crossing the Hudson River to Weehawken, New Jersey, the Lincoln Highway continued 3,389 miles across the country to its western terminus in Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California.

Contents

History

The former Longacre Square was renamed to honor The New York Times, which established its offices and printing plant nearby.

For a long period in the mid-20th century, the area of 42nd Street near Times Square was home to activities often considered unsavory,[1] including peep shows. A comedian once said, "They call it 42nd Street because you're not safe if you spend more than forty seconds on it."

A popular 1933 movie musical named 42nd Street, set in Depression Manhattan, colorfully described the bawdy mixture of Broadway shows and prostitution during the early 20th century. In 1980, it was turned into a successful Broadway musical, which was revived in 2001 in a theatre that was itself on 42nd Street. The following is an excerpt from the musical:

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