Pershing Square, Manhattan

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Coordinates: 40°45′07.6″N 73°58′39.6″W / 40.752111°N 73.977667°W / 40.752111; -73.977667

The Park Avenue Viaduct over 42nd Street, under which is Pershing Square; the green sign in the center of the bridge says "Pershing Square". Grand Central Terminal is on the center and left.
Pershing Square as originally proposed in 1919, showing (from L) a never-built replacement for the Murray Hill Hotel, the Belmont Hotel, a never-built replacement for the Hotel Manhattan, the Biltmore Hotel, Grand Central Terminal, and the Hotel Commodore.

Pershing Square is a public square in Manhattan, New York City, located where Park Avenue and 42nd Street intersect in front of Grand Central Terminal. The main roadway of Park Avenue crosses over 42nd Street on the Park Avenue Viaduct, also known as the Pershing Square Viaduct.[1] Two service roads, one northbound and one southbound, formerly connected 42nd Street with the main roadway of Park Avenue, at 40th Street. The service roads between 42nd and 41st Streets were converted into a pedestrian public plaza in 2018.[2]

The square is named after General John J. Pershing, and was originally intended to be an open plaza in Pershing's honor occupying the entire block between 42nd and 41st Streets and Park and Lexington Avenues; plans for this were first circulated in 1919.[1] In 1920, some of the land that had been intended to be Pershing Square was sold to a real estate development company, which put up an office building called the Pershing Square Building, completed in 1923. As a result, "Pershing Square" now refers to the area immediately under and around the viaduct.[1]

In 1939, the city built a steel and glass-brick structure under the viaduct at the south end of Pershing Square from 42nd Street to 41st Street,[3] which it utilized to provide tourist information.[4] The building, at 90 East 42nd Street, was later converted into a restaurant, which, as of 2015, is called the Pershing Square Cafe.

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  1. ^ a b c "Pershing Square Viaduct Designation Report", New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (September 23, 1980)
  2. ^ Warerkar, Tanay (February 16, 2018). "Busy block near Grand Central Terminal will transform into a pedestrian plaza". Curbed NY. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  3. ^ "90 East 42nd Street" on the New York City Geographic Information System map
  4. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1939). "New York City Guide". New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1-60354-055-1. (Reprinted by Scholarly Press, 1976; often referred to as WPA Guide to New York City.), p.222

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