By Katie Uva
New York City can be overwhelming in its vastness — more than 300 square miles, more than 8.5 million people, and so many distinct neighborhoods and languages spoken here that the number of neighborhoods and languages aren’t even fully agreed upon. New York City’s streets are the nervous system binding this far flung place and giant population together and their idiosyncrasies seem fitting for this metropolis — Edgar Street and Mill Lane in Manhattan vie for shortest street, while my childhood in Queens was punctuated by persistent confusion about whether I lived on 68th Road, Drive, or Avenue. Each borough has a Main Street, and Waverly Place has the distinction of being the only street in New York that actually crosses itself.
One of the most striking features of many New York streets, however, is more intangible than length or shape. So many of these streets are metonyms, embodying a bigger concept than the physical space they denote. Wall Street: the world of American finance. Madison Avenue: mid-century advertising. And perhaps the most legendary of all: Broadway. For most people the name conjures the theater industry that occupies its center, full of bright lights, marquees, and creative ambition. This is a core component of Broadway, yet this street has so much more to it — it’s the longest street in Manhattan and stretches the entire length, cutting assertively across the grid with the force of a longer history behind it and leaving a trail of small parks and squares in its wake. On a beautiful spring day, some friends and I set out to walk the length of Broadway in Manhattan from top to bottom, a journey totaling 13.5 miles. In addition to 27 Starbucks and 18 McDonalds, here are some other highlights of what we saw:
By Katie Uva
It’s the first Thursday in June! To most people, that means little more than that it is almost the first Friday in June, and that it was just the first Wednesday in June. But to New York City school children, it means Brooklyn-Queens Day, a gratuitous day off to go to amusement parks, run through sprinklers, and monitor the steady progress of ice cream melting down one’s face and arms. Nowadays, this holiday is a citywide phenomenon and has been renamed Chancellor's Day, but those of us old-timers who went to school before 2006 remember when Brooklyn-Queens Day used to be only for kids in Brooklyn and Queens, the one day of the year when kids in Manhattan actually envied us. But what is Brooklyn-Queens Day anyway?
Today marks the 75th anniversary of George M. Cohan's death
By Kara Murphy Schlichting
When temperatures climb during the summer months, New Yorkers and residents of the city’s suburban counties beat the heat with a visit to the shores of New Jersey, Long Island, and Long Island Sound. Although the Sound lacked the surf and wide, sandy beaches of the Jersey and southern Long Island shores, recreationalists frequented its rocky beaches, picnic grounds, modest amusement parks, hotels, and private clubs. By the early 1900s, Long Island Sound’s shores comprised a residential and recreational hinterland of greater New York. This development irrevocably linked coastal communities along the Sound to the modernizing metropolis.
is a blog for
independent and professional scholars of New York City
Click below to follow us on social media
using any feed reader
View our posts as a
See our list of
Visitors looking for
"The Gotham Blotter" (2006-2015)
will find it here,
revised as blog posts