Recently, I was making my way down 6th Avenue from Central Park. I decided to go towards 5th Avenue on 57th Street. I have been on this street many times and it’s where I first discovered 6 1/2Avenue. Today, I found another pedestrian way that is open and full of surprises. Just a block away at west 40. It simply brings pedestrians from one street to another.
It is fully covered, yet door-less and brightly lit with welcoming, whimsical, sculptures lining the walls by the likes of Tom Otterness, Fernando Botero, Manolo Valdes, Jacques Lipchitz to name just a few.
Today sculptures by Tom Otterness formed a very inviting path.
(Everyone I know loves Tom Otterness’ “Life Underground,” the Fraggle Rock Doozer-like small bronze characters inhabiting the 8th Avenue L train station.)
The pedestrian walk is part of the Marlborough Gallery, located at 40 w57th.
Note: This location is on the edge of Midtown but is a short walk from Columbus Circle, Carnegie Hall and MOMA (Lower floor galley is free). Also, from Lincoln Center, you can walk down Broadway and pass near here and 6 ½ Avenue. You could then continue towards Rockefeller Center.
A while back, I put up some photos of an outside arcade (walk-through) on west 52nd Street.
At the time, I was engrossed on getting to an event and didn’t notice a sign post – 6 ½ Avenue w 52nd Street. Later, as I edited the photos I noticed the 6 ½ Avenue sign, though I didn’t recall seeing a roadway in the middle of the block. My first thought was that someone was just having a little fun. With a little of exploring, let me tell you the story.
Yes, there are sign posts showing a 6 ½ Avenue. Hey are located on west 51st street to west 57th Street. While 6 ½ Street is not an Avenue or a Street it is a series of Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) that provides a way to get from w57th Street to w51st Street mid-block. Currently the only street with a fraction number in New York City,
These arcades of Midtown connect one street to another through building(s). 6 ½ Avenue is a public walkway through the buildings for the convenience of pedestrians. It is a fun secret of NYC. For the most part, I found most of the passageways boring, but I also found one that was worth a visit.
I have elected to start from W 57th Street and go south but you could start at W 51st and work north.
West 57th street: There are three points of entry
Le Parker Méridien has battled with the City over its elegant lobby, which is technically an arcade. The hotel is required to provide a certain number of tables and chairs for the public,. But the thing you notice upon entering at 57th street is that half the lobby has been appropriated by the hotel’s Gothic style cafe and bar. This entrance is quite cozy and may intimidate you from entering but be assured, it is a public space! I noticed one person who was eating her bag lunch on one of the sofas..
This space opens up to an impressive lobby that has large columns and mirrors. Here is a glimpse of the inside.
Here are two BONUS items for you:
Burger Joint at Parker New York – right next door. Noted for the best hamburger in NYC. Also, highly recommended by my daughter.
130 57th – a small lobby with very interesting old photos of celebrities. The building used to an arts building. There is a doorman but just ask to see the photos on the wall. (I put some samples at the end of this blog)
The other two entrances are not as nice as above.
Since I love the challenge of finding new things, I continued my quest to learn more about 6 ½ Avenue and headed south. Most of these arcades are simply walk throughs. Some have seats and benches. Originally, I thought I would show you some examples but I just found a video that walks through the arcades and I think does it better.
The video starts from w55th Street and heads south.
The entrance on 56th Street is easy to spot. Note that construction on w54th but go down a bit and you can cross through the Hertz parking lot.
(Sorry about the ad but didnt know how to remove it)