St. Nicholas Avenue

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Coordinates: 40°49′39.67″N 73°56′33.56″W / 40.8276861°N 73.9426556°W / 40.8276861; -73.9426556

The avenue, which is also NY State Bike Route 9
Looking north at 116th Street

St. Nicholas Avenue is a major street that runs north-south between 193rd Street and 111th Streets in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It goes through the neighborhoods of Harlem, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights. St. Nicholas Avenue serves as a border between the West Side of Harlem and Central Harlem. Although Harlem in a broad sense spans from the East River to the Hudson River, the area west of St. Nicholas Avenue is not always counted as part of Harlem proper.

The IND Eighth Avenue Line (A C B D trains) runs under St. Nicholas Avenue north of 121st Street as far as 168th Street, and is sometimes referred to as the St. Nicholas Avenue Line.


North of 169th Street, St. Nicholas Avenue is aligned with the street grid with Wadsworth Avenue one block west (north of 174th Street) and Audubon Avenue. It crosses over the Trans-Manhattan Expressway at 178-179th Streets. The intersection of St. Nicholas with Broadway at 167th Street forms Mitchell Square Park. Below 169th Street, St. Nicholas Avenue cuts at a diagonal to much of the Manhattan street grid, crossing Amsterdam Avenue at 162nd Street and continuing against the grain to West 148th Street. Below 148th, St. Nicholas returns to a rough parallel track, with Convent Avenue one block west and Edgecombe Avenue, down to 124th Street. Below 124th, St. Nicholas Avenue takes a sharp diagonal, crossing Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 121st Street, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard at 116th Street, ending at Lenox Avenue, just north of Central Park. Its 17th-century origin as part of Eastern Post Road accounts for its non conformance to the later grid.


From early colonial days through the 19th century the road was known as Harlem Lane.[1] It is claimed to have followed an old Indian path called Weekquaeskeek. The road accommodated travelers going toward Spuyten Duyvil, Kingsbridge, and points north.[2] Harlem Lane was sometimes referred to as the Kingsbridge Road, and it constituted a portion of the old Post Road that led from lower Manhattan to New England.[3]

St. Nicholas Avenue is named after Saint Nicholas of Myra, patron saint of New Amsterdam since Dutch times.[4]

In 2000, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani signed a bill adding the name "Juan Pablo Duarte Boulevard" to St. Nicholas Avenue for the stretch from Amsterdam Avenue and West 162nd Street to the intersection of West 193rd Street and Fort George Hill. The added name was in honor of Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic.[5]


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