Madison Avenue

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Madison Avenue
Madison Ave NYC looking nor.jpg
Looking north from 40th Street seen in 2005
NamesakeMadison Square, named after James Madison
Owner City of New York
Maintained by NYCDOT
Length6.0 mi (9.7 km) [1]
Location Manhattan, New York City
Postal code10010, 10016, 10017, 10022, 10065, 10021, 10075, 10028, 10128, 10029, 10035, 10037
South end 23rd Street in Flatiron
Harlem River Drive Shield free.svg Harlem River Drive  / Madison Avenue Bridge in East Harlem
North endHarlem River Drive Shield free.svg Harlem River Drive  / 142nd Street in Harlem
East Park Avenue
West Fifth Avenue

Madison Avenue is a north-south avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, United States, that carries northbound one-way traffic. It runs from Madison Square (at 23rd Street) to meet the southbound Harlem River Drive at 142nd Street, passing through Midtown, the Upper East Side (including Carnegie Hill), East Harlem, and Harlem. It is named after and arises from Madison Square, which is itself named after James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.


Madison Avenue was not part of the original Manhattan street grid established in the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, and was carved between Park Avenue (formerly Fourth) and Fifth Avenue in 1836, due to the effort of lawyer and real estate developer Samuel B. Ruggles, who had previously purchased and developed New York's Gramercy Park in 1831, and convinced the authorities to create Lexington Avenue and Irving Place between Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue South) and Third Avenue in order to service it.

The street's name has been metonymous with the American advertising industry since the 1920s. Thus, the term "Madison Avenue" refers specifically to the agencies and methodology of advertising. [2] "Madison Avenue techniques" refers, according to William Safire, to the "gimmicky, slick use of the communications media to play on emotions." [3]


Madison Avenue carries one-way traffic uptown (northbound) from East 23rd Street to East 135th Street, with the changeover from two-way traffic taking place on January 14, 1966, at which time Fifth Avenue was changed to one-way downtown (southbound). [4] This changeover was accelerated by seven weeks due to the transit strike which began on January 1. Between East 135th Street and East 142nd Street, Madison Avenue carries southbound traffic only and runs parallel to the Harlem River Drive.

There are numerous structures designated as New York City Landmarks (NYCL), National Historic Landmarks (NHL), and National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on Madison Avenue. From south to north (in increasing address order), they include: [5] [6]

Role in advertising industry

The term "Madison Avenue" is often used metonymically to stand for the American advertising industry. Madison Avenue became identified with advertising after that sector's explosive growth in this area in the 1920s. [8]

According to "The Emergence of Advertising in America", by the year 1861, there were twenty advertising agencies in New York City; and the New York City Association of Advertising Agencies was founded in 1911, predating the establishment of the American Association of Advertising Agencies by several years. [8]

Among various depictions in popular culture, the portion of the advertising industry which centers on Madison Avenue serves as a backdrop for the AMC television drama Mad Men , which focuses on industry activities during the 1960s. [8]

In recent decades, many agencies have left Madison Avenue, with some moving further downtown and others moving west. [9] [10] The continued presence of large agencies in the city made New York the third-largest job market per capita in the U.S. in 2016, according to a study by marketing recruitment firm MarketPro. [11] Today, several agencies are still located in the old business cluster on Madison Avenue, including StrawberryFrog, TBWA Worldwide, Organic, Inc., and DDB Worldwide. However, the term is still used to describe the agency business as a whole and large, New York–based agencies in particular. [8]

The Beaux-Arts Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State on Madison Avenue, across the street from Madison Square Park. New York appeals court building on Madison Avenue.jpg
The Beaux-Arts Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State on Madison Avenue, across the street from Madison Square Park.

Madison Square Park and Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Park is a 6.2-acre (2.5-hectare) [12] public park which runs along Madison Avenue from East 26th Street to East 23rd Street. It is bordered on the west by Fifth Avenue and Broadway as they cross. The park was named for James Madison, fourth President of the United States. [13]

Madison Square Garden took its name from the location of the first building of that name, located on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue at 26th Street, across from the Park. The first Garden was a former railroad terminal for the Park Avenue main line, which was converted into an open-air circus venue by P. T. Barnum in 1871 and was renamed "Madison Square Garden" in 1879. (The New York Life Insurance Building now occupies that entire city block.) The original Garden was demolished in 1889 and replaced by a new indoor arena designed by Stanford White that opened the following year. The second Garden had a bronze statue of the Roman goddess Diana on the tower of the sports arena. When it moved to a new building at 50th Street and Eighth Avenue in 1925 it kept its old name. Madison Square Garden is now located at Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd Street; however, it still retains the name.


Retail brands with locations on Madison Avenue include: Burberry, Manrico Cashmere, Brooks Brothers, Alexander McQueen, Hermès, Tom Ford, Céline, Proenza Schouler, Lanvin, Valentino, Stuart Weitzman, [14] Damiani, Emporio Armani, Prada, Chloé, Roberto Cavalli, Davidoff, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Cartier, Christian Louboutin, La Perla, Jimmy Choo, Jacadi, Mulberry, Victoria's Secret, Barneys New York, Coach, Rolex, Giorgio Armani, Oliver Peoples, Vera Wang, Anne Fontaine, Baccarat, Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren and others. [15]


Buses and bus lane

Madison Avenue is served by the M1 , M2 , M3 , M4 and Q32 local New York City Transit buses; the BM1 , BM2 , BM3 , BM4 , BM5 , BxM3 , BxM4 , BxM6 , BxM7 , BxM8 , BxM9 , BxM10 , BxM11 , BxM18 , QM21 , SIM4C , SIM6 , SIM8 , SIM8X , SIM22 , SIM25 , SIM26 , SIM30 , SIM31 , SIM33C , X27 , X28 , X37 , X38 , X63 , X64 and X68 express New York City Transit buses; and the BxM4C express Bee Line bus. These buses use a double exclusive bus lane between 42nd and 59th Streets, which comprise the only exclusive bus lane along the avenue. [16]

Although no New York City Subway stations are named after Madison Avenue, the Fifth Avenue/53rd Street station on the E and M trains has an entrance on Madison Avenue. [17]

Pursuant to Section 4-12(m) of the New York City Traffic Rules, [18] driving a vehicle other than a bus in the bus lane on Madison Avenue to turn right during the restricted hours specified by sign between 42nd Street and 59th Street is prohibited, then permitted at 60th Street, but a taxicab carrying a passenger may use the bus lane to turn right at 46th Street. Bikes are excluded from this prohibition.

Overturned midtown bike ban

In July 1987, then-New York City Mayor Edward Koch proposed banning bicycling on Fifth, Park and Madison Avenues during weekdays, but many bicyclists protested and had the ban overturned. [19] When the trial was started on Monday, August 24, 1987 for 90 days to ban bicyclists from these three avenues from 31st Street to 59th Street between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays, mopeds would not be banned. [20]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Broadway (Manhattan)</span> Avenue in New York

Broadway is a road in the U.S. state of New York. Broadway runs from State Street at Bowling Green for 13 mi (21 km) through the borough of Manhattan and 2 mi (3.2 km) through the Bronx, exiting north from New York City to run an additional 18 mi (29 km) through the Westchester County municipalities of Yonkers, Hastings-On-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, and Tarrytown, and terminating north of Sleepy Hollow.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grand Central Terminal</span> Railway terminal in New York City

Grand Central Terminal is a commuter rail terminal located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Grand Central is the southern terminus of the Metro-North Railroad's Harlem, Hudson and New Haven Lines, serving the northern parts of the New York metropolitan area. It also contains a connection to the New York City Subway at Grand Central–42nd Street station. The terminal is the second-busiest train station in North America, after New York Penn Station.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fifth Avenue</span> North-south avenue in Manhattan, New York

Fifth Avenue is a major and prominent thoroughfare in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It stretches north from Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village to West 143rd Street in Harlem. It is one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Park Avenue</span> North–south avenue in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York

Park Avenue is a wide New York City boulevard which carries north and southbound traffic in the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. For most of the road's length in Manhattan, it runs parallel to Madison Avenue to the west and Lexington Avenue to the east. Park Avenue's entire length was formerly called Fourth Avenue; the title still applies to the section between Cooper Square and 14th Street. The avenue is called Union Square East between 14th and 17th Streets, and Park Avenue South between 17th and 32nd Streets.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Financial District, Manhattan</span> Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

The Financial District of Lower Manhattan, also known as FiDi, is a neighborhood located on the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. It is bounded by the West Side Highway on the west, Chambers Street and City Hall Park on the north, Brooklyn Bridge on the northeast, the East River to the southeast, and South Ferry and the Battery on the south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">23rd Street (Manhattan)</span> West-east street in Manhattan, New York

23rd Street is a broad thoroughfare in the New York City borough of Manhattan, one of the major two-way, east-west streets in the borough's grid. As with Manhattan's other "crosstown" streets, it is divided into its east and west sections at Fifth Avenue. The street runs from Avenue C and FDR Drive in the east to Eleventh Avenue in the west.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lexington Avenue</span> North-south avenue in Manhattan, New York

Lexington Avenue, often colloquially abbreviated as "Lex", is an avenue on the East Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City that carries southbound one-way traffic from East 131st Street to Gramercy Park at East 21st Street. Along its 5.5-mile (8.9-kilometer), 110-block route, Lexington Avenue runs through Harlem, Carnegie Hill, the Upper East Side, Midtown, and Murray Hill to a point of origin that is centered on Gramercy Park. South of Gramercy Park, the axis continues as Irving Place from 20th Street to East 14th Street.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eighth Avenue (Manhattan)</span> North-south avenue in Manhattan, New York

Eighth Avenue is a major north–south avenue on the west side of Manhattan in New York City, carrying northbound traffic below 59th Street. It is one of the original avenues of the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 to run the length of Manhattan, though today the name changes twice. At 59th Street/Columbus Circle it becomes Central Park West, where it forms the western boundary of Central Park. North of 110th Street/Frederick Douglass Circle it is known as Frederick Douglass Boulevard before merging onto Harlem River Drive north of 155th Street.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Third Avenue</span> North-south avenue in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York

Third Avenue is a north-south thoroughfare on the East Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan, as well as in the center portion of the Bronx. Its southern end is at Astor Place and St. Mark's Place. It transitions into Cooper Square, and further south, the Bowery, Chatham Square, and Park Row. The Manhattan side ends at East 128th Street. Third Avenue is two-way from Cooper Square to 24th Street, but since July 17, 1960 has carried only northbound (uptown) traffic while in Manhattan above 24th Street; in the Bronx, it is again two-way. However, the Third Avenue Bridge carries vehicular traffic in the opposite direction, allowing only southbound vehicular traffic, rendering the avenue essentially non-continuous to motor vehicles between the boroughs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">FDR Drive</span> Highway in New York

The Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive, commonly called the FDR Drive for short, is a 9.68-mile (15.58 km) limited-access parkway on the east side of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It starts near South and Broad Streets, just north of the Battery Park Underpass, and runs north along the East River to the 125th Street / Robert F. Kennedy Bridge / Willis Avenue Bridge interchange, where it becomes the Harlem River Drive. All of the FDR Drive is designated New York State Route 907L (NY 907L), an unsigned reference route.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grand Concourse (Bronx)</span> Boulevard in the Bronx, New York

The Grand Concourse is a 5.2-mile-long (8.4 km) thoroughfare in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. Grand Concourse runs through several neighborhoods, including Bedford Park, Concourse, Highbridge, Fordham, Mott Haven, Norwood and Tremont. For most of its length, the Concourse is 180 feet (55 m) wide, though portions of the Concourse are narrower.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">110th Street (Manhattan)</span> West-east street in Manhattan, New York

110th Street is a street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is commonly known as the boundary between Harlem and Central Park, along which it is known as Central Park North. In the west, between Central Park West/Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Riverside Drive, it is co-signed as Cathedral Parkway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Madison Avenue Bridge</span> Bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx, New York

The Madison Avenue Bridge is a four-lane swing bridge crossing the Harlem River in New York City, connecting Madison Avenue in Manhattan with East 138th Street in the Bronx. It was designed by Alfred P. Boller and built in 1910, doubling the capacity of an earlier swing bridge built in 1884. The bridge is operated and maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Third Avenue Railway</span> New York streetcar system (closed 1952)

The Third Avenue Railway System (TARS), founded 1852, was a streetcar system serving the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx along with lower Westchester County. For a brief period of time, TARS also operated the Steinway Lines in Long Island City.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bus depots of MTA Regional Bus Operations</span> New York City Suburban Bus Depots

MTA Regional Bus Operations operates local and express buses serving New York City in the United States out of 29 bus depots. These depots are located in all five boroughs of the city, with the exception of one located in nearby Yonkers in Westchester County. 21 of these depots serve MTA New York City Transit (NYCT)'s bus operations, while the remaining eight serve the MTA Bus Company These facilities perform regular maintenance, cleaning, and painting of buses, as well as collection of revenue from bus fareboxes. Several of these depots were once car barns for streetcars, while others were built much later and have only served buses. Employees of the depots are represented by local divisions of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), particularly the TWU Local 100 and 101, or of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)'s Local's 726 for all depots in Staten Island, 1056 for Casey Stengel, Jamaica, and Queens Village Depots, and 1179 for JFK & Far Rockaway Depots.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fifth and Madison Avenues Line</span> Bus routes in Manhattan, New York

The M1, M2, M3, and M4 are four local bus routes that operate the Fifth and Madison Avenues Lines – along one-way pair of Madison and Fifth Avenues in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Though the routes also run along other major avenues, the majority of their route is along Madison and Fifth Avenues between Greenwich Village and Harlem.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Church Street and Trinity Place</span> North-south street in Manhattan, New York

Church Street and Trinity Place form a single north–south roadway in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Its northern end is at Canal Street and its southern end is at Morris Street, where Trinity Place merges with Greenwich Street. The dividing point is Liberty Street.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bus lanes in New York City</span> Bus priority system

Since 1963, New York City has been using a system of bus lanes that are intended to give priority to buses, which contain more occupants than passenger and commercial vehicles. Most of these lanes are restricted to buses only at certain days and times, but some bus lanes are restricted 24/7. As of May 2021, there are 138.4 miles (222.7 km) of bus lanes within New York City.


  1. Google (September 12, 2015). "Madison Avenue" (Map). Google Maps . Google. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  2. Martin Mayer, Whatever happened to Madison Avenue?: Advertising in the '90s (Little, Brown, 1991).
  3. William Safire, Safire's new political dictionary: The definitive guide to the new language of politics (Random House, 1993) p 428
  4. Kihss, Peter. "5th and Madison Avenues Become One-Way Friday; Change to Come 7 Weeks Ahead of Schedule to Ease Strike Traffic 5th and Madison to Be Made One-Way Friday", The New York Times , January 12, 1966. Accessed December 6, 2007. "The long-argued conversion of Fifth and Madison Avenues to one-way streets will start at 6 A.M. Friday seven weeks ahead of schedule to ease congestion caused by the transit strike."
  5. Interactive map: "Discover New York City Landmarks". New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Retrieved December 21, 2019 via ArcGIS.
  6. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  7. "... named for one of its first tenants — Look magazine, which folded in 1971. Other tenants have included Esquire magazine and Pocket Books."
  8. 1 2 3 4 "Advertising Ephemera Collection - Database #A0160". Emergence of Advertising On-Line Project. Advertising & Marketing History, John W. Hartman Center for Sales, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. 1997. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  9. Rothenberg, Randall (February 2, 1989). "Madison Ave. Quits Madison Ave". The New York Times.
  10. Deborah Leslie, "Abandoning Madison Avenue: the relocation of advertising services in New York City." Urban Geography (1997) 18#7 pp: 568-590.
  11. "The 10 Hottest Job Markets for Digital Marketing Careers Right Now". August 16, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  12. Event Horizon: Mad. Sq. Art.: Antony Gormley installation guide published by the Madison Square Park Conservancy
  13. Mendelsohn, Joyce. "Madison Square" in Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. (1995). The Encyclopedia of New York City . New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 711–712. ISBN   0300055366.
  14. Christina Parrella, Mad About Shopping: Madison Avenue 09/11/2013
  15. Madison Avenue shopping Archived December 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  16. "Bus Lanes in New York City" (PDF). . New York City Department of Transportation . Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  17. "Map of NYC Subway Entrances". NYC Open Data. City of New York . Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  18. New York City Traffic Rules, New York City Department of Transportation.
  19. Dunham, Mary Frances. "Bicycle Blueprint – Fifth, Park and Madison" Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine , Transportation Alternatives. Accessed April 27, 2009.
  20. Yee, Marilynn K. "Ban on Bikes Could Bring More Mopeds", The New York Times, Tuesday, August 25, 1987. Accessed April 27, 2009.
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