On the corner of 23rd and Fourth…Or Is It Park?

I’m standing on the corner of 23rd and Park Ave South…

4th Ave - 01

So why does that building on the corner say 4th Ave?

4th Ave - 02

This is another one of those great “walked by it a thousand times, never noticed” quirks.

Now the shortest avenue in Manhattan, Fourth Ave was once all of Park Ave until it was renamed in the 1800s. You can read the history on Forgotten NY, where I first learned about it. Essentially, it was renamed due to the creation of a train line, which ran above ground up the current Park Ave leading to the first Grand Central Terminal. NY drivers will be familiar with the underground tunnel around 38th Street that takes you briefly underground; this was an old train tunnel, on top of which was planted a landscaped garden. This stretch of Fourth Ave became known as Park Avenue for that reason, and the name eventually spread down the rest of Fourth as way of revamping the street, which had become polluted due to the stream engine trains.


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  1. Eagle Eye! Never ever would have noticed that!

  2. …yesterday I was crossing Park Avenue on 23rd Street and noticed that “Fourth Avenue” sign. Today I heard you talking about that on WNYC. Funny!