52nd Street is a 1.9-mile (3.1 km) long one-waystreet traveling west to east across Midtown Manhattan, New York City. A short section of it was known as the city's center of jazz performance from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, 52nd Street replaced 133rd street as "Swing Street" of the city. The blocks of 52nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue became renowned for the abundance of jazz clubs and lively street life. The street was convenient to musicians playing on Broadway and the 'legitimate' nightclubs and was also the site of a CBS studio. Musicians who played for others in the early evening played for themselves on 52nd Street.
By the late 1940s the jazz scene began moving elsewhere around the city and urban renewal began to take hold of the street. By the 1960s, most of the legendary clubs were razed or fell into disrepair. The last jazz club there closed in 1968, though one remains as a restaurant. Today, the street is full of banks, shops, and department stores and shows little trace of its jazz history. The block from 5th to 6th Avenues is formally co-named "Swing Street" and one block west is called "W. C. Handys Place".
The 21 Club is the sole surviving club on 52nd Street that also existed during the 1940s. The venue for the original Birdland at 1674 Broadway (between 52nd & 53rd), which came into existence in 1949, is now a "gentlemen's club." The current Birdland is on 44th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.
"Swing Street" street sign
Notable places on 52nd Street
This is a list of notable places within one block of 52nd Street.
The section between Eleventh and Tenth Avenues is signed "Joe Hovarth Way" in tribute to Joseph Hovarth (1945–1995) who located the Police Athletic League William J. Duncan Center on the block after moving from its original location. The Duncan Center is named for a patrolman who was shot while chasing a stolen car in the neighborhood on May 17, 1930.
The Manhattan School – Public School 35, special ed. (317 West 52nd) (north)
Radio City Station Post Office (zip code 10019) (south)
The Link (south), 43-story, 215–unit, glass tower condominium (height = 471 feet), opened in 2007 on site of the S.I.R. (Studio Instrument Rentals, Inc.) building at 310 W 52nd, known as the Palm Gardens Building. S.I.R. occupied the building from 1974 until 2004. Cheetah, the well-known club that had once been at 53rd and Broadway, occupied the Palm Gardens building from 1968 to 1974. Cheetah became a popular Latin-American dance club that helped popularize Salsa to mainstream America.
Sixth Avenue to Fifth Avenue is signed "Swing Street".
AXA Financial Center 43-story, 571 ft (174 m) completed in 1963. It has a large Thomas Hart Benton mural in lobby. (south)
CBS Building, headquarters of the network and popularly referred to as "Black Rock" (north)
31 West 52nd Street 30-floor, 411 ft (125 m) completed in 1986 originally for the E.F. Hutton headquarters. Currently the New York office of the international law firm, Clifford Chance (north) and the New York office of investment bank TD Securities, as well as the New York office for the international law firm Holland & Knight LLP.
75 Rockefeller Center, 33-story, 424 ft (129 m) building completed in 1947 the last of the original Rockefeller Center buildings that was originally used for the headquarters of the Rockefeller Esso Oil Company (north)