FIFTH AVENUE is New York's fashionable thoroughfare, famed for its costly residences and the people who live in them, its hotels, clubs, churches and libraries, and the brilliant social display which gives to the street its dominant air. Beginning at Washington Square on the south, it extends north six miles, past the Central Park to the Harlem River.
One of the best ways to see Fifth Avenue, the best residential sections, the fashionable shopping districts and the hotel and amusement centers of New York City, is from the tops of the Fifth Avenue 'buses, which traverse at frequent intervals Fifth Avenue, Riverside Drive and other important thoroughfares. Several important avenues north of Central Park are served, and there is also a line connecting with the Pennsylvania Station and an important crosstown line that connects the residential sections lying on either side of Central Park.
Many important public buildings and the leading churches of the city are passed, among these being the Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Riverside Drive Line, which leaves Fifth Avenue at Fifty-seventh street, gives an unrivalled view of the Hudson and Palisades, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Grant's Tomb and Claremont. On any line the fare is lo cents. For routes see Ready Reference.
WASHINGTON SQUARE has a statue of the Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi, presented by Italian residents of the United States. A bronze bust erected by engineers of America and Europe commemorates Alexander L. Holley as "foremost among those whose genius and energy established in America and improved throughout the world the manufacture of Bessemer steel." The large building east of the Square belongs to the New York University, which has here certain of its schools.
The WASHINGTON ARCH, spanning the drive at the beginning of Fifth avenue, is a perpetuation of the one designed by Stanford White for the celebration in 1889 of the centennial of Washington's Inauguration as first President. It is of white marble, 77 feet in height, and has a span of 30 feet. Its cost of $128,000 was defrayed by popular subscription. The words from Washington's Inaugural Address are engraved upon it: "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hands of God."
The aristocratic mansions on the north occupy part of the Randall farm, which in 18o1 Capt. Robert Richard Randall bequeathed for a Snug Harbor for superannuated sailors. The Harbor is situated on Staten Island, and is still supported by the old farm, which, extends north and east. These North Washington square houses have about them a fine flavor of yesterday, and preserve an old-fashioned air which accentuates their dignity as conservers of the old-time gentility. This small section at the beginning of the avenue has maintained a residential character and exclusiveness, of which the avenue to the north has been robbed by the inexorable encroachment of business. From loth street to 23d, loft buildings and other commercial structures have supplanted the old-time brownstone fronts; and from here to 42d street and gradually extending north the avenue is lined with shops which make it the richest shopping district in the world.
At 23d Street the avenue crosses Broadway and borders Madison square. On the right at 23d street is the huge Flatiron Building. On the left is the Fifth Avenue Building, and the vista of Broadway stretches away to the north. MURRAY HILL begins at 34th street. The district so designated, including the avenue and the side streets, was long the most fashionable residence section of New York.
The name was derived from the farm of Robert Murray, a Pennsylvania Quaker, who came here before the Revolution, and whose house, "Inclenberg," was on the Boston High Road, at the present intersection of Thirty-sixth street and Madison avenue, one block east from Fifth avenue. The Murrays are remembered also for a signal service to the American troops in 1776. On Sept. 15, 1776, Washington's forces being in retreat from the lower part of the city, and the British seeking to intercept them, General llowe and his staff halted at "Inclenb erg" to inquire how long since the Americans had passed. As a matter of fact, it was only ten minutes. but the good old Quaker lady assured the British officers that so much time had elapsed that pursuit was hopeless; and the day being insufferably hot, she invited them to alight and refresh themselves. Then with cake and wine and woman's wit she entertained them and detained them two hours, during which time the Americans made good their retreat to Harlem heights. A son of these Murrays of Murray hill was Lindley Murray, who published a famous "Grammar of the English Language" in 1795, and with reference to whom it is often said colloquially that some lapse of speech "would make Lindley Murray turn in his grave."
At 39th street is the UNION LEAGUE CLUB, organized by Republicans in 1863 to assist the Union cause. It is perhaps the New York club which has the widest national reputation.
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