From the U.N. to the Hudson, 42nd Street is both New York’s central artery and its pulsating heart. T+L strolls from river to river and... more » discovers a microcosm of the city—and the world.
From November 2010 By Andrew McCarthy
I moved recently from Greenwich Village, where I lived for 25 years, to midtown Manhattan. It’s barely two miles away, and yet it feels like I’ve gone to a new city. What used to be a 20-minute subway ride is now a two-minute walk. What was near is now far. Routines worn deep from years of familiarity have been turned upside down. So I’m getting a good second look at terrain I thought I knew well—both geographic and emotional.
I’m walking a lot, staking out my turf, and finding myself on 42nd Street a great deal. I’ve discovered that much of what makes New York unique—the history and infrastructure vital to its day-to-day well-being—hangs from this “waistline” of the city. So early one morning, I hop on the M42 crosstown bus to its farthest point east and follow the great thoroughfare from one end to the other to see what I can see.
At the end of the line the air brakes hiss and the door opens, the driver shifts into park, and I see her shoulders drop. “Long morning?” I ask. “I’m off this route next week,” she says. “Thank God.” An ominous start, but then I don’t have to traverse this street 12 times a day. less «