Where Fourth Avenue was wiped off the map

Manhattan’s Fourth Avenue currently runs from Cooper Square in the East Village to Union Square, where it becomes the more sylvan-sounding Park Avenue South until 32nd Street.

But this valley of office buildings and manufacturing space wasn’t always so abbreviated. In the 1800s, Fourth Avenue stretched all the way to 42nd Street. In 1860, the road between 42nd and 32nd was renamed Park Avenue, so it would no longer be associated with the Fourth Avenue rail line that had just been diverted underground. It wasn’t until 1959 when the city council gave 32nd to 17th Streets the Park Avenue South moniker.

A few remnants of the old street name remain, such as this address on the corner of 23rd:

There’s also the Fourth Avenue Building, on East 27th Street, built in 1910:

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3 Responses to “Where Fourth Avenue was wiped off the map”

  1. James M. McDonald Says:

    Like so many other NYC landmarks, 4th Avenue’s original name was changed to clean up its image, much like the Five Points Area, now Chinatown. So much fascinating history has been lost over the years here in our city. In other countries, the people are proud of their heritage, both good and bad. Reminders of yesteryear are preserved and revered. Here, it seems we all too often mask it over and clean it up with an antiseptic title to wipe away any soiled yesterdays, leaving our landscape sterile and void of its colorful and often not-so-perfect, but all too human history. As soon as a building reaches fifty years, it is a candidate for destruction to make way for a tall, ugly box-shaped high-rise, in the name of “progress”. All over our city, remnants of our glorious times of yore are disappearing and at an alarming rate. Vestiges of bygone days are evaporating.
    What beautiful buildings, true masterpieces of architecture have succumbed to the wrecking ball, in order to make way for newer, taller more “modern” structures. Almost none of our colonial period exists, few early-American and pretty soon, all edifices more than a century will be gone, unless they are designated as landmark status. Examples of that are everywhere. Boston and Philadelphia have whole pre-Revolutionary neighborhoods, but not NYC. What a shame. Once gone, they can never be replaced, or in most cases, even remembered. Even Radio City Music Hall was in danger not too long ago. Imagine that. We desperately need to safeguard the precious older, more elaborate and ornate works of beautiful architecture still standing, designate them with “endangered buildings status” and preserve what few jewels we have remaining in NYC. By destroying our past, what sort of future do we have?

  2. Where is Fourth Avenue and 128th Street? « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] out-of-date Fourth Avenue signage still exists on the street today—like these examples here. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  3. A 1941 painting reveals a lost Brooklyn street | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] manhole covers embossed with “Goerck Street” across Manhattan or signs for the ‘Fourth Avenue Building” on Park Avenue […]

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