Broadway /ˈbrɔːdweɪ/ is a road in the U. S. state of New York. It is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in New York City, dating to the first New Amsterdam settlement, the name Broadway is the English language literal translation of the Dutch name, Brede weg. Broadway is known widely as the heart of the American theatre industry, Broadway was originally the Wickquasgeck Trail, carved into the brush of Manhattan by its Native American inhabitants. Wickquasgeck means birch-bark country in the Algonquian language and this trail originally snaked through swamps and rocks along the length of Manhattan Island. Upon the arrival of the Dutch, the trail became the main road through the island from Nieuw Amsterdam at the southern tip. The Dutch explorer and entrepreneur David Pietersz. de Vries gives the first mention of it in his journal for the year 1642, the Dutch named the road Heerestraat. Although current street signs are simply labeled as Broadway, in a 1776 map of New York City, in the mid-eighteenth century, part of Broadway in what is now lower Manhattan was known as Great George Street. An 1897 City Map shows a segment of Broadway as Kingsbridge Road in the vicinity of what is now the George Washington Bridge. In the 18th century, Broadway ended at the town north of Wall Street, where traffic continued up the East Side of the island via Eastern Post Road. The western Bloomingdale Road would be widened and paved during the 19th century, on February 14,1899, the name Broadway was extended to the entire Broadway/Bloomingdale/Boulevard road. Broadway once was a street for its entire length. The present status, in which it runs one-way southbound south of Columbus Circle, on 6 June 1954, Seventh Avenue became southbound and Eighth Avenue became northbound south of Broadway. On 3 June 1962, Broadway became one-way south of Canal Street, with Trinity Place, northbound traffic on Broadway now needs to take Amsterdam Avenue to 73rd Street, make a sharp turn on the very narrow 73rd and then right turn on Broadway. Otherwise, and effectively, the traffic on Broadway has been diverted into Amsterdam Avenue. In August 2008, two lanes from 42nd to 35th Streets were taken out of service and converted to public plazas. Additionally, bike lanes were added on Broadway from 42nd Street down to Union Square, the city decided that the experiment was successful and decided to make the change permanent in February 2010. Additionally, portions of Broadway in the Madison Square and Union Square have been dramatically narrowed, Broadway runs the length of Manhattan Island, roughly parallel to the North River, from Bowling Green at the south to Inwood at the northern tip of the island. South of Columbus Circle, it is a southbound street
Image: Broadway Crowds (5896264776) crop
Broadway in 1860
In 1885, the Broadway commercial district was overrun with telephone, telegraph, and electrical lines. This view was north from Cortlandt and Maiden Lane.