Cheryl’s Favorite Island

During the Polar Vortex last week, Cheryl’s mind left her residence in North Huntingdon and traveled to her favorite island.  Tonight she would like to transport you on a little island vacation. Think of an island.  An island filled with history.  Filled with excitement, Filled with energy.   An island that spans 23 Square miles.  An island that is 13.4 miles in length and only 2.3 miles wide.  An island with a population of 1.6 million people and 50 million Annual Visitors.  An island that is home to 14,237 yellow cabs and 201 starbucks.  Yes, come with me to the isle of Manhattan.

Manhattan is an island 

Surrounded by the East River to the East

Hudson River to the West

Harlem River to the North

Most of the island is set in a grid starting with 12 St. (on the West) 1st St. (on the East)

Running to 228th St on the north

12 Avenues starting the numbering from West to East.

5th Avenue begins at Washington Square Archway (you’d recognize that if you’ve seen I Am Legend, When Harry Met Sally or Barefoot in the Park and divides the island into East & West.  So if you have an address that reads West 42nd St. you know you’re on the West Side of 5th Avenue — East 42nd St. would be on the East Side of 5th Avenue.

How to calculate your Walking Time

Walking time from street to street at one minute per street/avenue to avenue at 3 minutes.  For instance if you’re walking from 49nd St. to the southern border of Central Park which is on 59th St. it would be a 10 minute walk.  If you’re walking from Times Square at 45th Street and 7th Avenue and going to St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th and 5th Avenue you could calculate that you’re walking up 5 Streets at 1 minute a street and two Avenues and 3 minutes per avenue for a total of approximately 11 minutes.

All About Broadway

Running diagonally through the island is Broadway.  Broadway was originally an Indian Trail that snaked through the swamps and rocks of Manhattan – this trail preceded the grid and actually is the longest “street in the US” running from the Battery (at the south end of the island) all the way through Albany and to the border of Canada.  Famous parts of the street include “The Canyon of Heroes” which run from the Battery to City Hall.  This area is the site of the first Ticker Tape parade – 1886 at the Statue of Liberty Dedication.  The last one was held on February 7, 2012 when the New York Giants won the Super Bowl.  One of the more famous Ticker Tape parades was on January 12, 1946 titled the New York City Victory Parade of 1946 celebrating the end of World War II.

Another famous section of Broadway is called “The Great White Way”.  In 1880 the section of Broadway from 23rd St. to 34th St. was the among the first electrically lighted streets in the US.  By 1890 this portion of Broadway was so brightly illuminated by electrical advertising signs it was called “The Great White way”,  When the theater district moved uptown the name was transferred to the Times Square area. Each time Broadway crosses an Avenue we have a “square”.  Some of the more famous squares are Union Square – crossing 4th Ave at 14th St.  This area serves often as either the beginning or ending political demonstrations.  Where Broadway crosses 5th Avenue at 23rd St. we have “Madison Square” – This is the original location of Madison square Garden and also the location of the Flatiron Building.  When Broadway crosses 6th Avenue at 34th St we have Herald Square.  You will find Macy’s directly across from this square and you will recognize it as the performance area for the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  7th at between 42nd and 47th is Times Square — now a pedestrian plaza and an area that over 330,000 people pass through daily.  8th avenue at 59th St. is not a square but a circle – Columbus Circle.  Columbus Circle is the point which all distances are measured from New York City.

Where Broadway crosses 9th Avenue you will find Lincoln Center Square the corner of a 16.3 acre complex with 29 indoor and outdoor performance facilities which includes the Metropolitan Opera House, Avery Fisher Hall the home of the New York Philharmonic, David Koch Theater home of the New York City Ballet, The Vivian Beaumont Theater a Broadway Stage, the Julliard School of Music and the New York High School for Performing Heights which is the high school featured in the movie Fame.  Just a side note this is also the location where West Side Story was filmed, right before the Lincoln Center complex was built.

The 3 Sections of Manhattan

Manhattan is divided 3 Sections




Most famous is Midtown.  Midtown Manhattan spans from approximately 30th Street to 59th St. – southern border of Central Park Times Square, home of the Times Square New Year’s ball – dropped every New Year’s Eve since it welcomed in 1908.  Attended by at least 1 million spectators.  Celebration is now marked by a ball made by Waterford crystal and is 12 foot in diameter.  There are 40 Broadway theatres and several “Off Broadway Theatres in the Times Square Area.  If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between Broadway & Off Broadway Theatres, a Broadway Theatre has seating for over 500 hundred people where an off Broadway Theatre has 499 or less seats.  Some of the famous buildings in midtown include:  The Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue Flagship Stores, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grand Central Station, United Nations, Chrysler Building Downtown or Lower Manhattan is theFinancial District.  Wall Street, City Hall and the World Trade Center Site.  Battery Park where so many immigrants originally entered New York from Ellis Island.  Also the Statue of Liberty.  Lower Manhattan is the original “New York” which was called New Amsterdam.  This area includes: Little Italy, Lower East Side, Chinatown and Canal Street, TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal), SoHo (South of Houston), NoLita (North of Little Italy), Greenwich Village and Union Square.  This is the area where you’ll also find The Brooklyn Bridge  Uptown or Upper Manhattan starts with Central Park and the area  surrounding Central Park known at the “Upper east Side” with upscale apartments. Notable residents include Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Michael bloomberg and Madonna.  It is the highest pricing per square foot in the United States with housing costing approximately $125 per square foot.

Above the park you’ll find Harlem, home of jazz and over 400 churches.  In this area you can find the Apollo Theatre and the Cotton Club.  If you want to get to Harlem you can find the directions in that famous jazz piece written by Pittsburgh’s own, Billy Stayhorn and Take the A Train.


You must take the “A” train
To go to Sugar Hill, way up in Harlem
If you miss the “A” train
You’ll find you missed the quickest way to Harlem


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