Second Avenue (Manhattan)

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Coordinates: 40°45′34.6″N 73°57′54.32″W / 40.759611°N 73.9650889°W / 40.759611; -73.9650889

Second Avenue
Second Avenue in New York by David Shankbone.jpg
Second Avenue
North end 127th Street
South end Houston Street/Chrystie Street
East First Avenue
West Third Avenue

Second Avenue is an avenue on the East Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan extending from Houston Street at its south end to the Harlem River Drive at 128th Street at its north end. A one-way street, vehicular traffic runs only downtown (southbound) except for a one-block segment of the avenue in Harlem. A bicycle lane in the left hand portion from 55th to 34th Street closes a gap in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The bike lane extends from 125th Street all the way down to Houston Street. Second Avenue passes through a number of Manhattan neighborhoods including (from south to north) the Lower East Side, East Village, Gramercy Park, Murray Hill, Upper East Side, Yorkville and Spanish Harlem.


Second Avenue facing north from 42nd Street in 1861

Downtown Second Avenue in the Lower East Side was the home to many Yiddish theatre productions during the early part of the 20th century, and Second Avenue came to be known as the "Yiddish Theater District", "Yiddish Broadway", or the "Jewish Rialto". Although the theaters are gone, many traces of Jewish immigrant culture remain, such as kosher delicatessens and bakeries, and the famous Second Avenue Deli (which closed in 2006, later reopening on East 33rd Street and Third Avenue).

The Second Avenue Elevated train line ran above Second Avenue the full length of the avenue north of 23rd Street, and stood from 1880 until service was ended on June 13, 1942. South of Second Avenue, it ran on First Avenue and then Allen and Division Street.[1] The elevated trains were noisy and often dirty (in the 19th century they were pulled by soot-spewing steam locomotives). This depressed land values along Second Avenue during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Partially because of the presence of the El, most buildings constructed during this era were working class tenements. The line was finally torn down in 1942 because it was deteriorated and obsolete, and the cost of World War II made upkeep impossible.[2] Second Avenue maintains its modest architectural character today, despite running through a number of high income areas.

Second Avenue has carried one-way traffic since June 4, 1951, before which it carried traffic in both the northbound and southbound directions.[3]

Public transportation[edit]

Bus service

The M15 local serves the entirety of Second Avenue. The M15 Select Bus Service, the Select Bus Service equivalent of the local M15 bus, provides bus rapid transit service along Second Avenue southbound. Additionally, the M34A Select Bus Service runs along Second Avenue between East 34th Street and East 23rd Street en route to Waterside Plaza.


A Second Avenue Subway line has been planned since 1919. A subway line under Second Avenue would relieve congestion on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 5 6 <6> trains), currently the only line running up the East Side of Manhattan. A few short sections of the line have been completed over the years, serving other subway lines (the Grand Street Station is served by the B D trains), and others simply sitting vacant underground (such as the unused upper level at the Second Avenue station on the F train). Portions have been leased from time to time by New York Telephone to house equipment serving the company's principal north-south communication lines which run under the Avenue. Construction was begun again on April 12, 2007, on Phase 1 of a subway line that will eventually extend from 125th Street to the Financial District. Phase 1 connects the currently unused BMT 63rd Street Line with the new line north to stations at 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets, serving the Q (and eventually the T) trains.



  1. ^ "Second Avenue 'El' Coming to a Stop", The Christian Science Monitor, June 13, 1942. Accessed October 12, 2008.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Ingraham, Joseph (5 June 1951). "Autos Speeded 15% on 1st And 2nd Aves". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 

External links[edit]