Ninth Avenue (Manhattan)

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Coordinates: 40°45′15.41″N 73°59′44.36″W / 40.7542806°N 73.9956556°W / 40.7542806; -73.9956556

Ninth Avenue / Columbus Avenue is a southbound thoroughfare on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Traffic runs downtown (southbound) along the full stretch from Chelsea to the Upper West Side, except for the initial 3 blocks (from Gansevoort Street to 14th Street) where traffic runs northbound carrying traffic from Greenwich Street. In 2008 the portion between 31st and 14th Streets, and in 2011 the portion between 96th and 77th Streets[1] were remodeled with a bicycle lane between the eastern curb and the parking lane.


Ninth Avenue originates just south of West 14th Street at Gansevoort Street in the West Village, and extends uptown for 48 blocks until its intersection with West 59th Street, where it is re-signed as Columbus Avenue—named after Christopher Columbus. It continues without interruption through the Upper West Side to West 110th Street, where it is re-signed once more, as Morningside Drive, and runs north through Morningside Heights to 122nd Street.

Ninth Avenue reappears as a short street in Inwood, running from 201st to Broadway at the northern tip of Manhattan Island, interrupted for an eight-block stretch (from 207th to 215th Streets) by the New York City Subway 207th Street Yard. The addresses along this stretch are continuous with the lower portion of Ninth Avenue.

Above the ill-defined Lincoln Square, where ABC television network houses its corporate headquarters in a group of rehabilitated and modern buildings, where Columbus Avenue passes through the Central Park West Historic District, stretching from 67-68 Streets to 89th Street, the avenue presents a unified streetscape of 5 to 7 storey tenement buildings of brick and brownstone with discreet Romanesque and Italianate details, employing cast terracotta details and panels and courses of angle-laid brickwork. Many ornate tin cornices remain. The buildings are separated in mid-block by the narrowest of access alleys, giving glimpses of Ailanthus foliage in the side-street yards. The repeated designs of three or four commercial speculative builders, using the same features and detailing, add to the avenue's architectural unity. There are several generously scaled pre-World War I apartment buildings and the former Endicott Hotel, as well as a small commercial block from the office of McKim, Mead, and White at 72nd Street.

A one block stretch of Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets is now known as "Oreo Way."[2] The first Oreo cookies were manufactured in 1912 at the former Nabisco headquarters on this same Ninth Avenue block.[2]

Ninth Avenue and Columbus Avenue were converted to carry one-way traffic southbound in two stages. South of its intersection with Broadway the avenue was converted on November 6, 1948.[3][4] The rest to 110th Street was converted on December 6, 1951.[5]


Former president Bill Clinton initiated a project to revitalize the 9th Avenue corridor centered around the Hell's Kitchen area.[6] Several street fairs are held every year, including the Ninth Avenue Food Festival[7] in May.

The Ninth Avenue Elevated was a passenger train that ran above Ninth Avenue beginning in the nineteenth century. The lease for the line was assumed by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) on April 1, 1903.[8] The line ran until it was closed and dismantled in 1940 following the purchase of the IRT by the City of New York.

Points of interest[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In art it is notable as the setting of Saul Steinberg's "View of the World from 9th Avenue".
  • In the TV show Seinfeld, the street set on which most of the street scenes were filmed was based on Columbus Avenue.




  1. ^ Olea, Rebecca. "Columbus Ave. bike path gets two thumbs up" Crain's New York Business (October 12, 2011)
  2. ^ a b Hinkley, David (2012-05-20). "Celebrating the life of 'Mr. Oreo'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  3. ^ Ingraham, Joseph (7 November 1948). "Traffic Speeded on 9th, 10th Aves. By One-way Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Ninth and Tenth Avenues Are One Way Permanently". The New York Times. 14 May 1949. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Two More Avenues One-way Thursday". The New York Times. 4 December 1951. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Ninth Avenue International Food Festival
  8. ^ Feinman, Mark S. "Continuing the Story of the 9th Avenue El". Retrieved 2009-08-04. "On April 1, 1903, the entire Manhattan Elevated system was leased to the IRT Company for 999 years. Subway system construction was planned to connect with the Els at various points. By June 25, 1903, the last steam-powered elevated train was operated in passenger service on the 9th Ave El." 

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