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Seventh Avenue, known as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard north of Central Park, is a thoroughfare on the West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It is southbound below Central Park and a two-way street north of the park.
Seventh Avenue originates in the West Village at Clarkson Street, where Varick Street becomes Seventh Avenue. It is interrupted by Central Park from 59th to 110th Street. Artisans' Gate is the 59th Street exit from Central Park to Seventh Avenue. North of Warriors' Gate at the north end of the Park, the road runs in both directions through Harlem, where it is called Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard which has the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building (the addresses continue as if Seventh Avenue were continuous through Central Park, with the first block being the 1800 block). The street ends at the Macombs Dam Bridge over the Harlem River, where Jerome Avenue commences in the Bronx.
Running through the Garment District (which stretches from 12th Avenue to 5th Avenue and 34th Street to 39th Street), it is referred to as Fashion Avenue due to its role as a center of the garment and fashion industry and the famed fashion designers who established New York as a world fashion capital. The first, temporary signs designating the section of Seventh Avenue as "Fashion Avenue" were dual-posted in 1972, with permanent signs added over the ensuing years.
Notable buildings located on Seventh Avenue include:
Seventh Avenue was originally laid out in the Commissioners' Plan of 1811.
The southern terminus of Seventh Avenue was Eleventh Street in Greenwich Village through the early part of the 20th Century. It was extended southward, to link up with Varick Street, in 1914, and Varick was widened at the same time. Extension of the avenue allowed better vehicular connections between midtown Manhattan and the commercial district in what is now TriBeCa. It also permitted construction of the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line, which opened in 1918.
Extension of the avenue was under consideration for several years, and was approved by the New York City Board of Estimate in September 1911, when the first $3 million appropriation was made for the initial planning of the work. The extension had been urged by civic groups to meet the commercial needs of Greenwich Village. A significant number of old buildings were marked for demolition in the extension, and the demolished buildings included the Bedford Street Methodist Church, constructed in 1840.
The street is frequently mentioned in movies, plays and books.
It was mentioned in the Simon and Garfunkel song The Boxer, in which the protagonist mentions receiving a "come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue." The Rolling Stones also note the street in "Shattered" stating, "I can't give it away on Seventh Avenue" while referencing other NYC fashion icons.
In the 1962 play and 1965 movie A Thousand Clowns, Seventh Avenue is frequently mentioned as being in proximity.
In the 1973 Steely Dan song "The Boston Rag" the protagonist declares "There was nothing that I could do So I pointed my car down Seventh Avenue".
It is also mentioned in Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, when detective Sam Spade tells the gunman Wilmer that his telling him to "shove off" "would go over big back on Seventh Avenue. But you're not in Romeville now. You're in my burg."
In Dave Gibbons's Watching the Watchmen (Titan 2008), the comics artist speculates that the Gunga Diner, Utopia Cinema, Promethean Cab Co. and Institute for Extraspatial Studies are situated at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and West 31st Street.
It was the subject of a TV miniseries with that title, focusing on the Garment District, that ran on NBC in 1977.