History of Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue’s history as a beacon for the social elite began in 1862, when prominent American socialite Caroline Schermerhorn Astor and her husband built a townhouse on Fifth at the southwest corner of Thirty-Fourth Street. In 1893, the Astoria Hotel was built on the site (later to become the Waldorf-Astoria) and the area began to commercialize.
Benjamin Altman built the street’s first commercial building in 1896 at the northeast corner of Thirty-Fourth Street. He moved his department store B. Altman and Company to the location in 1906, marking the beginning of Fifth Avenue as an upscale and stylish shopping area.
Upper Fifth Avenue, between 59th and 96th Streets, became home to New York’s wealthiest by the early 1900s. This stretch of Fifth faces the picturesque greenery of Central Park and features beautiful architecture in the historic mansions and residential buildings. Upper Fifth Avenue is also home to Museum Mile, where some of the best museums and fine arts institutions in the world are located between 82nd and 104th Streets including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the El Museo del Barrio, the leading Latino cultural institution in New York City.