Broadway: The Longest and Most Fantastic Street in the World

Broadway: The Longest and Most Fantastic Street in the World

Broadway, the longest and most fantastic street in the world, starts its 16-mile journey from the tip of Manhattan as a shipping lane, moves a few blocks north to the Wall Street financial center, passes by the civic buildings of the city, and takes a diagonal course from Union Square through the needle-trades area between 34th and 39th Streets.

Between 42d and 53d Streets, Broadway is the Great White Way —renowned as an amusement and theatrical center. From 53rd Street to Columbus Circle it cuts through Automobile Row, center of the auto retail trade. It changes its diagonal course at 79th Street to parallel the island’s high escarpment facing the Hudson River.

Here it is lined with hotels, apartment houses, cafeterias, beauty salons, movie houses, and churches. At 114th Street it strikes a new note in the buildings of Columbia University, and another at 155th Street in a group of museums. From this point on it is a nondescript thoroughfare, ending as a semisuburban road as it approaches the city’s limits.

What was New York like during World War II

What was New York like during World War II

Wartime New York City, was, however, to be a far more carefree place than London or Paris, as commentators from areas closer to the war effort neglected no opportunity to show. To be sure, there was for a time a dim-out, ordered not so much through fear of bombs as because the glow of the city’s lights silhouetted shipping for enemy U-boats lurking out at sea. In this halfway measure, the streets were still lighted, a British visitor of 1942 reported; but the “glaring advertisements” which formerly kept Broadway “in perpetual light” were now extinguished, and “all windows above the 10th floor… screened.”

New Yorkers gained some sense of participation in the struggle as air-raid precautions, inaugurated six months before Pearl Harbor, were “practiced and more or less perfected,” sirens were tested, and wardens and plane spotters began to stand watch on tall buildings and rural hilltops. Women took over tasks formerly performed by men–driving cabs, operating elevators, and serving as telegraph messengers–when Selective Service pulled nearly 900,000 New Yorkers into uniform.

The rationing of food and gasoline prompted the most obvious sacrifices, at least for those to whom the black market was not available. But for New Yorkers without close friends or relatives overseas, the sight of servicemen on leave and of the cargo vessels and tankers, “lined up on the Hudson and East River, with their camouflage and artillery, awaiting the formation of convoys,” constituted the closest contact with the shooting war.

What was New York like during World War II

To the casual observer, New York seemed hardly touched by the conflict. The British novelist James L. Hodson saw no sign of a dimout in the winter and spring of 1943-1944; and the naivete of the airraid instructions he found in his hotel bedroom showed him “how far” New York really was “from the war.” At Christmas time the city was gay with holiday decorations.

Cocktail parties preceded dinners boasting menus “astounding to British eyes.” The season was described as “the craziest Christmas for spending” ever known. “There is no war here,” Carlos Romulo contended, in amazement, when he reached New York shortly after the fall of the Philippines. He was horrified at what appeared to be the “holiday air of the people,” rushing madly about–in a “Coney-Island” dim-out–“spending fabulous sums as if they were in the midst of a carnival.”

Only after he had observed the city more closely did the Philippine statesman realize that New York, too, was fighting the war-giving blood, buying bonds, and, above all, moving men and goods in a degree that contributed significantly to victory. The city’s surface frivolity, he ultimately concluded, was in part, at least, a reflection of the way that New York showed its fighting spirit. It was a consequence, too, as other commentators were aware, of the very nature of New York’s most important wartime contribution–the production and movement of goods essential to the war effort.

As production expanded and shipping throve, wages increased, and New Yorkers had more to spend than ever before. At the same time, fewer necessities were available for purchase as a result of wartime restrictions. Hence an unprecedented portion of the worker’s income was at hand for spending at theatres, movie houses, race tracks, restaurants, and bars. It was this, in the opinion of Pierre de Lanux, which caused the erroneous impression that “what was happening overseas had no repercussion on life in the United States” and gave service personnel returning from combat the generally unjustified feeling that New Yorkers were blind to the realities of the conflict.

De Lanux is the authority, too, for New York’s reaction to the victory when it came in 1945. Despite the scarcity of paper, ticker tape rained on Broadway following news of the German armistice in May; and with the defeat of Japan, in August, the sobering implications of Hiroshima did not prevent New Yorkers from staging a real celebration. “From the dignified flag-bedecked residences, uptown, to the gaudily decorated tenements of the East Side and ‘Little Italy,’ the national colors floated amid clouds of confetti, cheering cries, the honking of horns, and the wail of sirens,” the French chronicler reported.

The churches were filled in the morning; then a general rejoicing took possession of the entire city, which reached a climax by evening. At Times Square, the crowds were so dense that the police had difficulty intervening when soldiers and sailors, sharing their joy with the civilians, “embraced and mussed up some of them” in the bargain. “Statisticians will never say exactly how much alcoholic beverage passed from production to consumption that night,” de Lanux asserted, “but the figure would certainly be expressed in tons rather than liters.”

Like the commentators of earlier days, those of the thirties and forties recognized the role of the port in the city’s economy, especially in connection with the nation’s colossal war operation; but increasingly their attention turned to the magnitude of the city’s industrial output, as well. Referring to New York of the mid-forties as “the greatest manufacturing town on earth,” John Gunther pointed out, in his Inside U. S. A., that Manhattan alone employed “more wage earners than Detroit and Cleveland put together,” Brooklyn more than Boston and Baltimore, and Queens more than Washington and Pittsburgh, combined. More persons were engaged in New York’s garment trades than made automobiles in Detroit or steel in Pittsburgh, according to a similar comment in the New York Times.

Brooklyn Bridge in Blue Night

Brooklyn Bridge in Blue Night

Up through Brooklyn and along the great bridges there is continuous travel by trolley, motor, and foot, from early in the morning. Before nine o’clock the tide is at its flood. Around the New York exit of the Brooklyn Bridge the currents from many directions meet and mingle to make a veritable whirlpool of humanity that circles and eddies, foams and dashes, gets mixed up in a roaring swirl, then collapses in froth, dissipates, and finally trickles away in small streams to various points of the compass.

Of course there is a blocking of traffic, and occasionally an accident, due to the rush off or on the cars, that produces confusion, excitement, loud protest, or angry denunciation. But this, though a not unusual occurrence, always leaves the pushed and hustled crowd more or less indifferent. Everyone knows that the thoroughfares are insufficient during “rush” hours; but they do not know how matters can be helped.

There is less of a crowd at the Williamsburgh Bridge because it is not the most direct route to the lower part of the city. It is one of the ways by which those who do business in the middle Broadway region travel, and it contributes its sum to the mass that each morning moves into the city; but it lends not directly to the congestion of the lower town. Still, though it is not a direct way, it adds something, like the ferries beneath it that keep coming and going from shore to shore.

Time was when the ferries at South and Wall and Fulton streets were the only means of getting into the lower town from Brooklyn, and they were then, in the morning hours, often loaded with people to the gunwales; but since the building of the new bridges and the opening of the Battery tube, they have been used but little. Eventually their occupation will be gone completely.

Thousands upon thousands swarm into the city from Long Island. Bridges creak and ferries strain and tunnels roar with the weight of them; and the rasp and shuffle of their feet along the decks, along the bridge approaches, and along the flagged streets help make that deep undertone of the city to which the electric cars add the high note.

Yet Brooklyn and beyond is only one source of intake. The shores of the Upper Bay, Staten Island, Coney Island, send up their quota by steamer and ferry-boat; while from the Hudson, reaching far into the state, steamboats and railways are bringing down and disembarking more thousands to swell the throng. But the body of commuters that comes in from New Jersey is, perhaps, the greatest of them all.

Probably four hundred thousand people is a moderate estimate for those who daily travel into New York from across the Hudson. It is nearer, no doubt, to a million. The local trains on all the railways through New Jersey are crowded from seven to ten in the morning, and the double-decked ferries that push and snort and whistle their various ways from shore to shore look black with massed humanity.

Again, as on the East River side, there are long tunnels under the Hudson, carrying passengers in swift electric cars; and these are lessening the crush on the ferries for the time being, but it will not be long before both tunnels and ferries are once more inadequate. The population in New Jersey that comes and goes daily to New York is increasing by thousands each year, and the greater the ease in getting to town, the better the traveling facilities, the more people there are willing enough to live in the country in preference to the crowded quarters of the upper city.

Blue New York City Poster Print, New York City Skyscrapers Brooklyn Bridge Posters, New York City Skyscrapers at Night, Blue Night Moonlight Effect NYC Skscrapers Photo Picture, Manhattan Financial District at Blue Night Pop Art Style Digital Photo Image

New York City Skyscrapers Brooklyn Bridge

New York City Skyscrapers Brooklyn Bridge

New York is fast becoming the art center of the world. In addition to the museums there are always exhibits in privately owned art galleriesand other events of special interest. These are usually described in the art and music sections of the daily newspapers, particularly the ‘N. Y. Times’ and the ‘N. Y. Herald Tribune,’ and in such magazines as ‘Cue’ and ‘The New Yorker.’ The principal private art galleries are in the vicinity of East 57th St.; visitors are welcome.

Blue New York City Poster Print – New York City Skyscrapers Brooklyn Bridge Posters
New York City Skyscrapers at Night – Blue Night Moonlight Effect NYC Skscrapers Photo Picture – Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Financial District at Blue Night Pop Art Style Digital Photo Image

Bronx – Concourse Plaza, 161st St. & Grand Concourse, Moderate sized; near Yankee Stadium; reasonable.

Brooklyn – St. George, 51 Clark St. Extremely large, commercial, residental and transient; swimming pool, all facilities; reasonable.

Hotels in New York Manhattan East Side

Hotels in New York Manhattan East Side

— Beckman Tower, 49th St. & First Avenue. Near United Nations; transient and residential; moderate.

— Belmont Plaza, 49thSt. & Lexington Ave. Large, residental and transient, moderate.

— Beverly, 125 E. 50th St. Moderate-sized, residential and transient; moderate-expensive.

— Commodore, 109 E. 42nd St. Extremely large, adjacent to Grand Central Station; specializes in banquets, conventions; moderate.

— Lexington, Lexington Ave. & 48th St. Large, residential and transient; moderate. Manger-Vanderbilt, Park Ave. & 34th St. Medium-sized; quiet at night, moderate.

— New Weston, 34 E. 50th St. Transient and tesidental; quiet; popular with international travelers; expensive.

— Roger Smith, Lexington Ave. & 47th St. Small, quiet; features suites; moderate.

— Shelburne, Lexington Ave. & 37th St. Residental and transient; quiet at night; moderate.

— Shelton Towers, Lexington Ave. & 49th St. Busy commercial; moderate.

— Sheraton East, formerly the Ambassador, Park Ave. & 51st St. Partly residential; quiet and dignified; expensive.

— Barclay, 111 E. 48th St. Moderate-sized, residental and transient, expensive.

— Berkshire, 52nd St. & Madison Ave. Moderate-sized.

— luxurious, moderate-expensive.

— Biltmore, 43rd St. & Madison Ave. Very large, partly commercial; moderate.

— Carlyle, 76th St. & Madison Ave. Out of hotel area; quiet, residential and transient, quiet; moderate-expensive.

— Delmonico, Park Ave. & 59th St. Large, expensive.

— Drake, Park Ave. & 54th St. Fairly large, centrally located, residential and transient; expensive

— Gotham, 5th Ave. & 55th St. Quiet, dignified; residential and transient; expensive.

— Park Lane, Park Ave. & 49th St. Fairly large, residential and transient; dignified; expensive.

— Pierre, 5th Ave. & 61st St. Exclusive, smart, expensive.

— Plaza, 5th Ave. & 59th St. Famous, view of Central Park; several dining rooms and night clubs; expensive.

— Roosevelt, Madison Ave. & 45th St. Large, transient with some commercial features; moderate.

— Savoy Hilton, 5th Ave. & 59th St. Large, residential and transient; moderate expensive.

— Tuscany, 120 E. 39th St. Fairly samll, residential and transient; quiet at night, expensive.

— Waldorf-Astoria, 50th St. & Park Ave. World famous, extremely large; all facilities, banquets, shops, moderate-expensive.

— Westbury, 69th St. & Madison Ave. Residential and transient, quiet, dignified; in residential area; moderate-expensive.

A weekend of art in New York City

A weekend of art in New York City

Being alone in town on a Sunday can be a dull prospect if you don’t know your way about. Of course, there are always the Broadway movie houses, but you can go to the movies anytime, so why waste a day in New York doing that?

Saturday night, pick up a few Sunday newspapers, particularly in the ‘Times’ and ‘Herald Tribune’ and also ‘The New Yorker’ and ‘Cue’. These are all valuable as guides to amusements and special events. Go through the theatrical sections; many legitimate theaters, especially Off Broadway, give performances on Sunday. Possibly you can find a show that you’d like to see and Sundays are often the easiest days for geting tickets. If the shows are unknown to you, turn to ‘The New Yorker’ or ‘Cue’ for reviews.

In the morning, how about having breakfast sent up to your room? Somehow this is one of life’s great luxuries. You may want to attend religious services at one of New York’s well known houses of worship.

Sunday is a good day for a visit to the Hayden Planetarium where you can see an extremely interesting show for a modest charge. Immediately adjacent to the Planetarium and in the same park area is the American Museum of Natural History, which is so large that you could spend days there. It has many fine exhibits and also schedules lectures, movies and special shows. There is a little shop in the museum which sells various novelties like bird’s eggs, sea shells and all sorts of gifts that would delight children.

At 85th St & Central Park West, you can take an eastbound cross-rown bus which runs through Central Park to Fifth Avenue. Walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (82nd St.) where you’ll see priceless paintings and exhibits. There is a shop in the museum which sells art books and amazingly good reproductions of original art works in the museum collection at very reasonable prices.