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Tenth Avenue (Manhattan)

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Tenth Avenue
Amsterdam Avenue (north of 59th Street)
NYC arterial road.jpg
The avenue at 17th Street, as seen from the High Line
OwnerCity of New York
Maintained byNYCDOT
Length10.5 mi[1] (16.9 km)
LocationManhattan, New York City
South endWest Street
North endFort George Avenue
EastNinth Avenue (below 59th St)
Columbus Avenue (above 59th St)
WestEleventh Avenue (below 59th St)
West End Avenue (above 59th St)
CommissionedMarch 1811
Amsterdam Avenue looking north from 119th Street toward Harlem
New residential tower at 60th Street

Tenth Avenue, known as Amsterdam Avenue between 59th Street and 193rd Street, is a north-south thoroughfare on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City. It carries uptown (northbound) traffic as far as West 110th Street (also known as Cathedral Parkway), after which it continues as a two-way street.


Tenth Avenue begins a block below Gansevoort Street[2] and Eleventh Avenue in the West Village / Meatpacking District. For the southernmost stretch (the four blocks below 14th Street), Tenth Avenue runs southbound. North of 14th Street, Tenth Avenue runs uptown (northbound) for 45 blocks as a one-way street. At its intersection with West 59th Street it becomes Amsterdam Avenue but continues without interruption, continuing as a one-way street northbound until Cathedral Parkway, where two-way traffic resumes.

As Amsterdam Avenue, the thoroughfare stretches 129 blocks north – narrowing to one lane in each direction as it passes through Yeshiva University's Wilf Campus, between 184th and 186th Streets – before connecting with Fort George Avenue south of Highbridge Park at West 193rd Street.

On the north side of Highbridge Park, unconnected to Amsterdam Avenue on the south side, Tenth Avenue then runs for slightly less than a mile from the northern terminus of the Harlem River Drive at Dyckman Street, to the intersection of West 218th Street where it merges into Broadway.


Tenth Avenue runs through the Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen neighborhoods on the west side of the borough, and then as Amsterdam Avenue, through the Upper West Side, Harlem and Washington Heights. Much of this areas was working-class or poor for much of the 20th century. The street has long been noted for its commercial traffic, and had grade-level railroad lines through the early 20th century.

The Hudson River Railroad's West Side Line ran along Tenth Avenue from its intersection with West Street to the upper city station at 34th Street, after which it veered to Eleventh Avenue; the line was completed to Peekskill, New York in 1849. Over this part of the right-of-way, the rails were laid at grade along the streets, and since by the corporation regulations locomotives were not allowed, the cars were drawn by a dummy engine, which, according to an 1851 description, consumed its own smoke. While passing through the city the train of cars was preceded by a man on horseback known as a "West Side cowboy" or "Tenth Avenue cowboy" who gave notice of its approach by blowing a horn.[3][4][5][6] However, so many accidents occurred between freight trains and other traffic that the nickname "Death Avenue" was given to both Tenth[7][6] and Eleventh Avenues.[8]

Public debate about the hazard began during the early 1900s.[9] In 1929, the city, the state, and New York Central agreed on the West Side Improvement Project,[10] conceived by Robert Moses.[11] The 13-mile (21 km) project eliminated 105 street-level railroad crossings and added 32 acres (13 ha) to Riverside Park; it also included construction of the West Side Elevated Highway. It cost more than $150 million (about $2 billion in 2017 dollars.[12]

The part of Tenth Avenue north of West 59th Street was renamed "Amsterdam Avenue" in 1890 at the request of local merchants seeking to distance themselves from "Death Avenue" and to increase the value of their properties in an area that had yet to "catch on". The name was intended to recall the Dutch roots of Manhattan's earliest colonization in the 17th century, when the city was known as New Amsterdam. They hoped that the area would become a "the New City" and a "new, New Amsterdam."[13] The Board of Alderman approved the name change, but only after first considering "Holland Avenue"; the change was made just before the vote on the resolution. In their approval, the Board noted that other name changes in the area – such as that of Eleventh Avenue to "West End Avenue" – had "a marked and beneficial effect on property", and said that they held such name changes "as second in importance only to the advantages of increased rapid transit."[14]

Tenth Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue were converted to carry one-way traffic northbound in two stages. South of its intersection with Broadway, the avenue was converted on November 6, 1948.[15][16] The remainder, to 110th Street, was converted on December 6, 1951.[17] Amsterdam Avenue continues to carry two-way traffic north of 110th Street.

During the real estate boom of the late 20th century, Amsterdam Avenue from roughly 59th Street to 96th Street became one of the city's most expensive residential districts.


The M11 bus runs northbound along the avenue. North of 72nd Street, the M7 bus also runs northbound on the avenue; north of 110th Street, the M11 bus runs in both directions along Amsterdam Avenue.

As part of the 7 Subway Extension, the New York City Subway's 7 and <7>​ trains were extended to 34th Street in 2015.[18] An intermediate stop, Tenth Avenue, was originally planned but was dropped from the official plans in 2008.[19][20][21] The 1 train serves two stations along the Inwood portion of Tenth Avenue: 207th Street, and 215th Street.[22]

A protected bike lane was installed in 2016 from 72nd Street to 110th Street.

Notable sites[edit]


In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Google (December 1, 2015). "Tenth Avenue / Amsterdam Avenue" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  2. ^ New York City Geographic Information System map
  3. ^ Hudson River and the Hudson River Rail-Road. Boston: Bradbury & Guild. 1851. p. 12. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  4. ^ Highline Photo of the Week West Side Cowboy
  5. ^ "High Line History". Friends of the High Line. Archived from the original on September 22, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Amateau, Albert. "Newspaper was there at High Line's birth and now its rebirth". The Villager. 77 (48). Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  7. ^ Gray, Christopher (December 22, 2011). "When a Monster Plied the West Side". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014. The New York World referred to the West Side route as Death Avenue in 1892, long after the Park Avenue problem had been solved, saying 'many had been sacrificed' to 'a monster which has menaced them night and day.'
  8. ^ Dunlap, David W. (February 18, 2015). "New York City Rail Crossings Carry a Deadly Past". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  9. ^ "'Death Ave.' Ends as Last Rusty Rail Goes; Huge West Side Improvement Completed" (PDF). The New York Times. June 26, 1941. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "The Highline: past and present". GeoWeb, Harvard University. May 13, 2010. Archived from the original on October 23, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  11. ^ Walsh, Kevin (September 2012). ""High Line"'s Last Frontier". Forgotten NY. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  12. ^ "High Line History". Friends of the High Line. Archived from the original on September 22, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  13. ^ Feirstein, Sanna (2001), Naming New York: Manhattan Places & How They Got Their Names, New York: New York University Press, p. 169, ISBN 978-0-8147-2712-6
  14. ^ Moscow, Henry (1978), The Street Book: An Encyclopedia of Manhattan's Street Names and Their Origins, New York: Hagstrom Company, p. 22, ISBN 0823212750
  15. ^ Ingraham, Joseph (7 November 1948). "Traffic Speeded on 9th, 10th Aves. By One-way Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  16. ^ "Ninth and Tenth Avenues Are One Way Permanently". The New York Times. 14 May 1949. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  17. ^ "Two More Avenues One-way Thursday". The New York Times. 4 December 1951. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  18. ^ Fitzsimmons, Emma G.; Schweber, Nate (September 14, 2015). "Subway Station for 7 Line Opens on Far West Side". The New York Times. p. A1.
  19. ^ Chan, Sewell; Bagli, Charles V. (April 2, 2005). "M.T.A. Links Stadium Bid to Rail Extension". The New York Times. From its current terminus at Times Square, near 41st Street and Eighth Avenue, the No. 7 would travel west along 41st Street, with a new station at 10th Avenue, and then south along 11th Avenue, with a new terminal at 34th Street.
  20. ^ Neuman, William (October 24, 2007). "It's a Deal: $1.4 Billion to Extend No. 7 Train". The New York Times. Mr. Saul also criticized the project because it omits a proposed station at 41st Street and 10th Avenue
  21. ^ Neuman, William (September 19, 2008). "No. 7 Extension Won't Include 10th Ave. Station". The New York Times. Early plans called for the project to also include a station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street. But as cost estimates rose, the station became expendable in the eyes of the city – and it became increasingly clear, by last fall [of 2007], that financing for the new station was unlikely.
    Last fall, the authority signed a $1.14 billion contract with a company to dig the tunnel and excavate the 34th Street station. The contract contained a $450 million option to excavate a cavern for the 10th Avenue station as well. But the authority would have had to agree to the option by last Saturday [September 13, 2008]. The deadline passed with no agreement.
    Transit advocates and some public officials have been critical of plans to build the extension without the extra station, saying that it would bypass a growing area in need of subway service.
  22. ^ "Subway Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 1, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2018.

External links[edit]