Broadway (New York City)

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Broadway, as the name implies, is a wide avenue in New York City, which runs the full length of Manhattan and continues into the Bronx.[1] It is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to the first New Amsterdam settlement. The name Broadway is the English literal translation of the Dutch name, Breede weg. A stretch of Broadway is famous as the pinnacle of the American theater industry.



Broadway was originally the Wickquasgeck Trail, carved into the brush destination of Manhattan by its Native American inhabitants.[2] This trail originally snaked through swamps and rocks along the length of Manhattan Island. Upon the arrival of the Dutch, the trail soon became the main road through the island from Nieuw Amsterdam at the southern tip. The Dutch explorer and entrepreneur David de Vries gives the first mention of it in his journal for the year 1642 ("the Wickquasgeck Road over which the Indians passed daily"). The Dutch named the road "Heerestraat".[3] In the mid-eighteenth century, part of Broadway in what is now lower Manhattan was known as Great George Street.[4] In the 18th century, Broadway ended at the town commons north of Wall Street, where Eastern Post Road continued through the East Side and Bloomingdale Road the west side of the island. In the late 19th century the widened and paved part of Bloomingdale Road north of Columbus Circle was called "The Boulevard" but on February 14, 1899 the name "Broadway" was extended to the whole old road.[5]


Broadway runs the length of Manhattan Island, from Bowling Green at the south, to Inwood at the northern tip of the island. South of Columbus Circle, it is a one-way southbound street. Starting in 2009, vehicular traffic is banned at Times Square between 47th and 42nd Streets, and at Herald Square between 35th and 33rd Streets as part of a pilot program; the right-of-way is intact and reserved for cyclists and pedestrians. From the northern shore of Manhattan, Broadway crosses Spuyten Duyvil Creek via the Broadway Bridge and continues through Marble Hill (a discontinuous portion of the borough of Manhattan) and the Bronx into Westchester County. U.S. 9 continues to be known as Broadway through its junction with NY 117.

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