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47th Street (Manhattan)

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47th Street
Diamond Jewelry Way
Hammarskjold Plaza jeh.JPG
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, located at the east end of 47th Street
Maintained byNYCDOT
Length1.8 mi[1] (2.9 km)
LocationManhattan
Postal code10036, 10167, 10017
Nearest metro station47th–50th Streets "B" train"D" train"F" train"F" express train"M" train
Coordinates40°45′31″N 73°59′00″W / 40.7586°N 73.9832°W / 40.7586; -73.9832Coordinates: 40°45′31″N 73°59′00″W / 40.7586°N 73.9832°W / 40.7586; -73.9832
West end NY 9A (12th Avenue) in Hell's Kitchen
East endFirst Avenue in Midtown East
North48th Street
South46th Street
Construction
CommissionedMarch 1811

47th Street is an east–west running street between First Avenue and the West Side Highway in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Traffic runs one way along the street, from east to west, starting at the headquarters of the United Nations. The street features the Diamond District in a single block (where the street is also known as Diamond Jewelry Way) and also courses through Times Square.

Notable locations[edit]

Diamond District[edit]

View of the Diamond District at 47th Street and Fifth Avenue

The Diamond District is a commercial stretch between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Midtown Manhattan, encompasses only nearly one block. Until the 1920s, New York’s diamond epicenter was Maiden Lane, four blocks north of Wall Street.[3] The new Diamond District was formed when dealers moved north from an earlier district near Canal Street and the Bowery that was created in the 1920s, and from a second district located in the Financial District, near the intersection of Fulton and Nassau streets, which started in 1931, and also from the at one time jewelry district of Maiden Lane, which had existed since the 18th century.

A notable, long-time anomaly of the district was the famous Gotham Book Mart, a bookstore, which was located at 41 West 47th Street from 1946 to 2004.

The move uptown started in the 1920s when rents in Maiden Lane began increasing drastically as finance and insurance companies moved into the Financial District.[4][5] The district grew in importance when Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and Belgium, forcing thousands of Orthodox Jews in the diamond business to flee Amsterdam and Antwerp and settle in New York City. Most of them remained after World War II, and remain a dominant influence in the Diamond District.[6] By 1941, the Diamond Dealers Club—an exclusive club that acts as a de facto diamond exchange and has its own synagogue—officially made the move up to midtown as well.[7]

A jewelry shop in the Diamond District
One of the unique diamond-shaped streetlights in the Diamond District

The area is one of the primary centers of the global diamond industry,[citation needed] as well as the premier center for jewelry shopping in the city. It is one of the largest diamond and jewelry districts in the United States, along with Jewelers' Row, Philadelphia and Los Angeles's Jewelry District, and it is the second oldest surviving jewelry district in the United States after Jewelers' Row in Philadelphia. Total receipts for the value of a single day's trade on the block average $400 million.[8] An estimated 90% of diamonds in the United States enter through New York. There were some 3,500 independent businesses (cutting, polishing and sales) in the district in 2019. According to other sources, the district was home to more than 2,600 businesses in 2020, a majority of them were on the same block, many shop owners and managers of the district were Orthodox Jews.[9] The wholesale business made up most of the $24.6 billion in annual sales in 2019; the industry employed 33,000 people, still predominantly Jews.[10] Most businesses are located in booths at one of the 25 "exchanges" in the district. Commission based hawkers are also a common sight and they usually solicit business for stores located on the street level.[11]

According to The New York Times, the Diamond District has maintained a thriving, bazaarlike marketplace since the 1920s.[9] Many deals are finalized by a simple, traditional blessing (mazel und brucha, which mean "luck and blessing" in Hebrew) and handshake.[6][12] Retailers with shops line the streets outside. At 50 West 47th Street is the Gemological Institute of America which trains gem dealers.[13] One distinguishing figure of the district is the diamond-motif street lights illuminating the corners.[14] The NYC Diamond District also holds three prominent trade interconnected buildings: the 580 Fifth Avenue Exchange, the DDC, Diamond Dealers Club, and the International Gem Tower. It is also close to other landmarks such as Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.[15]

A January 2020 article in Smithsonian magazine described the Diamond District as follows:[3]

"Visit 47th Street today, and the stylish pedestrians of Fifth and Sixth Avenues vanish. In their place are elderly, ultra-Orthodox Jews wearing black overcoats and fedoras; south and central Asians with traditional karakul hats; and gaggles of merchants shouting in languages from across the world ... Forty-seventh Street is, in fact, a thick network of middlemen, with diamantaires buying and selling large caches of diamonds much like stock brokers..."[3]

Transportation[edit]

The New York City Subway's 47th–50th Streets – Rockefeller Center station on the IND Sixth Avenue Line offers service on the B, ​D, ​F, <F>, and ​M services. An underground concourse connects the station with the buildings of Rockefeller Center. The 49th Street station on the BMT Broadway Line offers service on the N, ​Q, ​R, and ​W trains, and is accessible via a part-time booth at Seventh Avenue and 47th Street at the south end of the station.[16][15]

Additionally, several New York City Bus routes running along north-south avenues stop near the street.[17]

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Google (September 1, 2015). "47th Street (Manhattan)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  2. ^ "NHL Powered by Reebok Store – New York, NY". nhl.com. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Richman, Barak (January 16, 2020). "How Manhattan's Diamond District Continues To Operate Like an Old World Bazaar". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Caratzas, Michael (December 13, 2016). "Excelsior Steam Power Company Building" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. p. 4. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  5. ^ How Manhattan’s Diamond District Continues To Operate Like an Old World Bazaar
  6. ^ a b Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. (1995). The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 332–333. ISBN 0300055366.
  7. ^ "About the DDC". Diamond Dealers Club New York. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  8. ^ WNBC-TV's Jane Hanson on her Jane's New York special on the Diamond District.
  9. ^ a b Krueger, Alyson (October 16, 2020). "Will the Diamond District Survive?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  10. ^ Lipman, Steve. "The Real-Life Diamond District Shrugs At New Adam Sandler Film", The Jewish Week, December 17, 2019.
  11. ^ "The NYC Diamond District – How to Avoid the Shopper's Trap". Beyond 4Cs. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  12. ^ Hornblower, Margot (March 10, 1985). "Sparkle Street, U.S.A." Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  13. ^ Locations, Gemological Institute of America
  14. ^ Staff, Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc (January 1, 2012). Fodor's See It New York City. Fodor's Travel Publications. ISBN 9780876371367.
  15. ^ a b "MTA Neighborhood Maps: neighborhood". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  16. ^ "Subway Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  17. ^ "Manhattan Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  18. ^ West 47th Street – About the Film, accessed December 12, 2006

External links[edit]

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