42nd street

42nd Street is a major crosstown street on the Island and New York City borough of Manhattan, known for its theaters, especially near the intersection with Broadway at Times Square. It is also the name of the region of the theater district (and, at times, the red-light district) near that intersection. The street has held a special place in New Yorkers' imaginations since at least the turn of the 20th century, and is the site of some of New York's best known buildings, including (east to west) the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The corner of 42nd Street and Broadway, at the southeast corner of Times Square, was the eastern terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the United States of America, which was conceived and mapped in 1913. The Lincoln Highway proceeded west on 42nd Street to the Weehawken Ferry. After crossing the Hudson River to Weehawken, New Jersey, the Lincoln Highway continued 3,389 miles (5,454 km) across the country to its western terminus in Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California.

For much of the mid and late 20th century, the area of 42nd Street near Times Square was home to activities often considered unsavory, including peep shows. A comedian once said, "They call it 42nd Street because you're not safe if you spend more than forty seconds on it."

A popular 1933 movie musical named 42nd Street, set in Depression Manhattan, colorfully described the bawdy mixture of Broadway shows and prostitution during the early 20th century. In 1980, it was turned into a successful Broadway musical, which was revived in 2001 in a theatre that was itself on 42nd Street.

In the early 1990s, city government encouraged a clean-up of the Times Square area. In 1990, the city government took over six of the historic theaters on the block of 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. In 1993, the Walt Disney Corporation signed a boughtNew Amsterdam Theater, which in renovated a few years later. Since the mid-1990s, the block has again became home to a "legitimate" theatre, along with shops and restaurants that draw millions to the city every year. This area is now co-signed as "New 42nd St" to signify this change.

source: Wikipedia