NYC's Famed Fifth Avenue to Get a Major Revamp — With Bigger Sidewalks and More Green Space

The two-year project will prioritize pedestrian space, bike lanes, and green space from Bryant Park to Central Park.

Aerial rendering of the Fifth Avenue Promenade with larger sidewalks and trees
Conceptual rendering from one proposal for a reimagined Fifth Avenue. Photo:

Courtesy of Fifth Avenue Association

New York City’s popular stretch of Fifth Avenue between Bryant Park and Central Park will be redesigned into a “world-class public space,” as part of a vision plan the city's Mayor Eric Adams announced Sunday.

The section between 42nd Street to 59th Street, which includes the Rockefeller Center area, is best known for its shopping and tourism. However, it's also often crowded and congested, especially during the holiday season with its festive decor and proximity to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

“Fifth Avenue is an iconic corridor and an engine of our Midtown economy,” Adams said in a statement. “New York isn’t coming back, New York is back. But New Yorkers don’t sit on our hands — we will continue to bring everyone to the table, come up with innovative ideas together, and make our city safer, fairer, and more prosperous.”

Rendering of the 5th Ave Revamp that will increasing pedestrian space across the avenue — expanding sidewalks and prioritizing accessibility and pedestrian mobility
Conceptual rendering from one proposal for a reimagined Fifth Avenue.

Courtesy of Fifth Avenue Association

The project will include a reimagining of the overall space with an emphasis on the pedestrian experience, including more green space, new tree plantings, and improved lighting. Sidewalks will also be expanded to lessen congestion, as well as provide more accessibility. 

Additionally, sustainable transportation will be made easier in the area. Street safety will be improved for cyclists with protected bike lanes, and bus travel will be expedited with dedicated lanes. 

This is just one part of the bigger “New New York: Making New York Work for Everyone” plan that was announced last week. It also builds on this season’s initiative of closing Fifth Avenue to vehicular traffic on three December Sundays from 48th to 57th Streets, which has served as a test program of sorts

The plan is the result of a two-year study from the Fifth Avenue Association. While specifics are still in the works, early improvements will start next year, with the entire project being completed in about two years.  

“The verdict is clear: New Yorkers love safe and joyful public space, where they can cross the street safely, take in the sights, and chat with their friends,” Jackson Chabot of Open Plans, an organization dedicated to making the city streets more livable, added. “Fifth Avenue is iconic, and this re-imagination process will solidify it as a premier destination."

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